Branson's Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean
BMR Energy will take over the power purchase agreement and restoration efforts of the solar farm, the company said in a press release.
BMR Energy, which develops and operates clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, was purchased by Richard Branson's Virgin Group in 2016.
"The world needs to find ways to introduce more resilient clean energy," Branson said in the release. "The Caribbean has an abundance of clean energy sources, and BMR are taking great strides towards helping create zero-carbon energy supplies for years to come."
Rebuilding the storm-wrecked region is a cause that is close to the Virgin founder. The billionaire businessman owns a private island in British Virgin Islands where he rode out both hurricanes Irma and Maria in the space of two weeks.
"I've never experienced anything quite like Hurricane Irma," Branson said in an Instagram video in September. "It literally devastated the British Virgin Islands."
Branson, a longtime environmentalist, intends to bring a "green energy revolution" to the region. Last year, he met with government representatives from Britain and the U.S. to set up a green fund to rebuild the Caribbean.
"As part of that fund we want to make sure that the Caribbean moves from dirty energy to clean energy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in September.
Hurricane Maria not only devastated the Caribbean, it also hampered the area's supply of renewable energy. The St. Croix solar farm is currently running at less than 45 percent capacity.
Restoring the plant to full generation capacity will generate power for approximately 1,600 homes, BMR Energy said.
"This acquisition is an opportunity to show how to build for stronger hurricane resiliency and offer greater value to the region," Bruce Levy, CEO of BMR Energy, said in the release. "As the prolonged restoration in these hurricane-devastated areas highlights—with Puerto Rico being the most extreme example—we must remain committed to rebuilding our infrastructure right and successfully maintaining projects through long-term ownership."
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.