Branson leads renewables charge on Necker


British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has awarded the contract to switch power generation on his private Caribbean island home of Necker to renewables to U.S. energy giant NRG Energy.

The founder of the Virgin media empire and, more recently, of low carbon economy group The Carbon War Room is using his home as a testbed for The Carbon War Room’s attempts to introduce a pan-Caribbean-basin set of renewables commitments and standards.

Renewable energy generation in the micro states of the Caribbean is held back by the small scale of island nation grids, a lack of standard contracts and energy regulations across the region, lack of creditworthiness and by the monopolies enjoyed by energy companies in some nations.

Caribbean commitments to renewables

The Carbon War Room, together with non-profit sustainable resource lobby group the Rocky Mountain Institute, this week secured commitments from Colombia and the island nations of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to change from fossil fuels to renewables.

Branson says the lessons learned on his BVI home of Necker could be applied across the region.

A pan-Caribbean summit held in the BVI was attended by 12 countries as well as corporations including Philips, Sungevity, NRG and the World Bank.

The meeting secured commitments to roll out energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in hotels in the TCI and BVI, in hospitals in Colombia, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, in schools in Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and in utility scale schemes in the BVI, USVI, St Lucia, the Cayman Islands and Aruba.