The U.S. Virgin Islands has worked with NREL to come up with a strategic plan to reduce fossil fuel use by 60 percent by 2025. The plan will include the deployment of five different renewable energy technologies and a huge roll-out of energy efficiency improvements.
The USVI, much like other islands, currently depends heavily on imported fuel for their energy needs, making electricity cost almost $0.50/kWh for residents -- about five times more than residents of the continental U.S. The need for switching to renewable sources of energy is just as much economical as it is environmental for the islanders.
NREL wanted to come up with a realistic plan for reducing the USVI's dependence on fossil fuels, so they worked with the government, utilities and public and private groups to map out the territory's potential for different renewable energy and efficiency solutions. The organization came up with the following mix of efforts to get the islands to a 60 percent reduction:
- 2 percent biomass
- 3 percent landfill gas
- 3 percent solar
- 6 percent wind
- 8 percent waste-to-energy
- 38 percent energy efficiency
The USVI burns 2.6 million barrels of oil every year for electricity and water desalination. By 2025, if this plan comes together, that number could drop that number to just over 1 million barrels, creating a cheaper, homegrown electricity portfolio for the islands and a major slash in emissions.
Image via Don Buchanan, USVI Energy Office
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