Saint Lucia announced its intention to move towards a clean energy future by becoming the next pioneering economy to join the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge at the Caribbean Conservation Summit held on Necker Island, co-hosted by Sir Richard Branson, the prime minister of Grenada, and premier of the British Virgin Islands.
“Solving the energy challenge and marine conservation challenge in the Caribbean go hand-in-hand. I am very pleased that Saint Lucia has decided to join the Challenge and hope more neighbouring islands will follow,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin.
“We are joining the Ten Island Challenge because it is consistent with the goals of our government to develop a renewable energy sector and transition to a Green Economy,” said James Fletcher, minister of sustainable development and energy, Saint Lucia.
Launched at the Rio+20 Summit last June by Sir Richard, the Carbon War Room and Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UNFCCC, the Ten Island Challenge is working with pioneering island economies to reduce dependency on fossil fuels through the acceleration of commercial opportunities on islands, attracting expert engineering firms and investment.
“We want to develop a renewables ‘blueprint’ using those islands that are ready today – and provide replicable models for many more communities isolated by water, desert or just distance from the grid,” said Jose Maria Figueres, president of the Carbon War Room.
Saint Lucia is focusing its efforts to transition off fossil fuels through a range of initiatives from renewable energies as well as waste and water efficiency. Although sustainability and low carbon plans aren’t new to island economies, successful implementation is.
The Ten Island Challenge will highlight the opportunities on the island and Carbon War Room will reach out globally for the best solutions and most competitive bids. Saint Lucia joins its Caribbean neighbour, Aruba – who signed up for the challenge in 2012.
Sir Richard and Virgin Limited Edition have also taken an interest in the Challenge, offering Necker Island as ‘demo site’ to launch a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the installation of renewable energy solutions.
Issued in February, the RFP has already attracted a multitude of bids from USA, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, and installation of both wind and solar solutions take place later in the year.
The announcement was made at the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) Summit of Political and Business Leaders, convened today on Necker Island/BVI. The two-day summit brought together heads of state and corporate leaders to address the opportunity to protect the critical natural marine environment of the Caribbean region.
Transforming island energy systems to renewable sources is critical to marine and coastal conservation, and is imperative to the economic growth of the region.
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