Quantcast

Virgin CEO Richard Branson Vows to Turn Caribbean Islands Green

Business

While Sir Richard Branson is preparing to make the $13.6 million Moskito island his new "family complex," the billionaire says the move can impact a lot more than just his luxurious profile.

Along with Necker island, which Branson rents for nearly $55,000 a night, Moskito will use renewable energy for 75 to 80 percent of its electricity, according to The Guardian. Using technical and financial blueprints from his green business group, Carbon War Room, and the Rocky Mountain Institute, Branson will offer advice to help all Caribbean governments cut diesel imports and switch to renewable sources. He believes the two properties can become models for islands around the world. 

"This is personal and global," said Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, which consists of about 400 businesses. "We know that islands will suffer the most from climate change and sea-level rise. Reefs will be devastated, and wildlife decimated."

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Last week, Branson hosted a summit in which various governments, companies and financial institutions agreed to invest $1 billion in clean energy loans for a group of Caribbean islands that pay some of the highest electricity rates in the world. The summit included five prime ministers and 12 governments reaching an agreement for the region's islands, which generate nearly all of their energy from diesel.

Branson and the group estimate that the region's islands like could save hundreds of millions of each year by reducing emissions by 50 percent or more. He also offered some lofty renewable energy goals for the islands.

"It's realistic to think that whole islands could be 75-to 80-percent clean energy in four to five years," he said. "It might not make sense to do the last 25 percent, but they all ought to be able to go 75 to 80 percent using wind and solar energy."

Branson says Caribbean governments have prime ministers that are "new to to the job" with limited expertise on climate change. He added that last week's joint agreement and his Virgin Islands model could help families pay 40 percent of what they pay now for energy.

The U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corp. (Opic) is one of entities willing to invest millions to help the islands convert to clean energy.

"We will be prepared to approve up to $250 million for projects," said Lynn Tabernacki, managing director of Opic's renewable energy programs. "These could cover multiple schools or hospitals, or could be used to develop wind and solar farms. 

"This could be a game changer in the Caribbean, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. It makes sense to make these islands sustainable."

Also, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Dominica, Turks and Caicos and Aruba have pledged to retrofit hospitals and schools and build solar projects.

"Renewables make it possible for islands to gain long-term energy independence," Branson said. "The technology is ready today.

"The transition to renewables means a clean, prosperous, and secure energy independent future for islands."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

belchonock / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

Coconut oil is an incredibly healthy fat.

Read More Show Less
Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less