Bonaire Strives To Become The First Caribbean Island Powered By 100% Sustainable Energy
Phase I Wind Farm To Be Completed in 2009 – Full Conversion Planned for 2012
The island of Bonaire continues on its path toward becoming the first Caribbean island powered by 100% sustainable energy. In 2007, the island government, which takes pride in the island’s beauty and nature preservation, agreed to a multi-faceted project to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel energy by developing an energy system comprised of an 11MW wind farm, 14MW biodiesel plant, and a 3MW backup battery. Ecopower Bonaire BV, a consortium consisting of Evelop, Enercon, and MAN, is spearheading this project that is expected to complete its first phase by the end of 2009.
The project developers have already completed the installation of a pilot 330KW wind turbine, whose current energy production exceeds any initial expectations. Accordingly, 12 additional 990 KW wind turbines are being installed on the north coast of the island, where wind and surf conditions are most ideal. By the end of 2009, these wind turbines should produce 44% of the island’s energy. The remaining 56% will be produced by the planned 14MW biodiesel generators, utilizing fuel derived from algae, which will enable the island to shift to 100% sustainable energy supply within five years.
All electricity generated will be delivered to WEB (Water and Energy Bonaire). After completion of the entire project, Ecopower Bonaire BV will remain owner of the wind-biodiesel system.
Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing. And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.
Bonaire is the recipient of the prestigious Islands Magazine/Caribbean Tourism Organization 2008 Sustainable Tourism Award and continues to be recognized as one of the top destinations worldwide for its sustainable tourism as reported by National Geographic Traveler magazine (March 2004) and Islands Magazine (December 2007), and as one of the top diving destinations in the Atlantic/Caribbean for seven years in a row in the Scuba Diving magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards (2003-2008). It was designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as having the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean (January 2008), and as the Favorite Dive Destination in the World by About.com (June, 2008).
In 2009, the island will be Celebrating Bonaire’s Commitment to Conservation, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Washington-Slagbaai National Park and the 30th Anniversary of the Bonaire National Marine Park. There will be a variety of festivities and events throughout the year, celebrating these combined years of nature protection for the island.
For more information on Bonaire contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 1-800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire’s official web site at www.tourismbonaire.com.