May 26, 2022

Cayman Islands invited to pursue Branson’s renewable energy challenge

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Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 1.06.10 PMAction based partnership with Carbon War Room will accelerate transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (16 June 2016) The Cayman Islands Government proactively approached organisers of the 10 Islands Challenge, and are currently reviewing an opportunity which could help the Cayman Islands transition to renewable energy.

Conceptualised by Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group, the 10 Island Challenge is a programme led by the Rocky Mountain Institute – Carbon War Room (RMI-CWR), which is an independent group with expertise in transitioning small Island nations away from fossil fuel dependence to renewable resources.

In response to the formal letter from Government requesting more information about the programme and its potential benefits, a team from the Carbon War Room visited the Cayman Islands during the CARILEC conference and met with stakeholders, including the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) and Caribbean Utilities Corporation (CUC) alongside the Ministries of Tourism (DATT) and Planning (PLAHI).

Areas of discussion included the regulatory environment for electricity provision in the Cayman Islands and ongoing renewable energy initiatives.

Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister for Tourism explained that “The goal of the Ten Island Challenge is to accelerate the transition of Caribbean island economies from a heavy dependence on fossil fuels to renewable resources. On this basis, the Challenge is well aligned to this government’s goal to develop a strategic plan to diversify the sources of energy available for our three Islands. Consequently, more information was requested from the team leading the Carbon War Room, given their experience in this area.”

“Having discussed the programme in more detail with members of the Carbon War Room, potential opportunities are now being reviewed, along with the level of support that the group could offer. In terms of roles and responsibilities, the RMI-CWR team has broad expertise in energy transition and would be able to provide expert advice to Government in areas such as the development of business models and Integrated Resource Plans specific to our needs. They would also be able to provide technical support with project modelling and analysis, which would be vital components of any initiative prior to implementation,” the Minister continued.

“Given that the Tourism Industry is one of the heaviest consumers of electricity, Government is open to reviewing potential opportunities from renewable sources, particularly since many have benefited from tremendous advancement in recent years. Transitioning to renewables sooner rather than later will, over time, be economically advantageous and will also significantly reduce our Islands carbon footprint,” he added.

Also commenting on the Challenge, Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, Minister for Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure said that “This Caribbean wide Challenge is an interesting concept which could offer significant benefits in the Cayman Islands context and would work well with our National Energy Policy, which is currently being reviewed. The programme itself is a pioneering initiative that merits review given that it is successfully assisting small Caribbean Islands in reducing their dependence on fossil fuels, in favour of renewable energy sources. With the cost of renewables coming down, transitioning to renewables is becoming more economically viable and remains attractive because it is also kinder to the environment,” the Minister concluded.

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