Launched at Rio+20 Summit in June 2012, by Branson's entrepreneur initiative Carbon War Room and Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC, the Ten Island Challenge aims to work with pioneering island economies to reduce dependency on fossil fuels through the acceleration of commercial opportunities on islands , attracting expert engineering firms and investment.
“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 Branson.
"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, Saint Lucia's Minister of Sustainable Development & Energy.
“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, said Carbon War Room. Although sustainability and low carbon plans aren’t new to island economies, successful implementation has so far been a problem.
Carbon War Room said the Ten Island Challenge will highlight the opportunities on the island and that the initiative will reach out globally for the best solutions and most competitive bids. Saint Lucia joins its Caribbean neighbor, Aruba - who signed up for the challenge in 2012.
Branson and Virgin Limited Edition have also taken an interest in the project, 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, said Carbon War Room.
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 brings 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, said Carbon War Room.
Ashden awards seeking sustainable energy champions in small island states