Thursday, May 23, 2013

Saint Lucia waves goodbye to fossil fuels

By BusinessGreen staff

Caribbean island signs up to Richard Branson-backed Carbon War Room initiative to phase out fossil fuel imports in favour of green energy 

The island of Saint Lucia has become the latest island state to announce its intention to phase out fossil fuels and embrace clean energy technologies.

The Caribbean nation is to explore a variety of green projects, ranging from renewable energy deployment to waste and water efficiency measures, while drawing on support from Richard Branson's Carbon War Room (CWR) initiative.

The state joins Aruba in signing up to CWR's Ten Island Challenge, which aims to reduce island economies' dependence on imported fossil fuels by highlighting commercial opportunities and attracting investment and engineering expertise from clean technology and energy firms around the world.

James Fletcher, Saint Lucia's minister of sustainable development and energy, said: "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."

CWR said in a statement that transforming island energy systems to renewable sources is critical to marine and coastal conservation, as well as being imperative to driving growth for economies that are typically reliant on costly fossil fuel imports that are subject to volatile pricing.

Jose Maria Figueres, president of CWR, said switching island communities to renewable energy could prove globally significant, as such initiatives will provide case studies for economies around the world.

"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," he said.

Closer to home, the approach mirrors the Isle of Wight's EcoIsland initiative, which is similarly trying to encourage islands around the world to sign up to an EcoIsland charter committing them to the rapid deployment of clean technologies.

Saint Lucia waves goodbye to fossil fuels