July 1, 2014
-- With 2,500 hours of sun annually, development of solar power is playing a crucial role in Aruba’s ambitious aim for total sustainable power by 2020.
The island is confident it can achieve its target, even though it appears a tall order, especially when compared to other nations. The European Union, for example, has charged its members with ensuring 20 per cent of their total energy generation is renewable by the same date.
The drive is being powered by Utilities Aruba, the state-owned company responsible for the generation, distribution and transmission of energy and water. However, it stems from a 2009 decision by the island’s government to address the environmental concerns of a small island – Aruba measures 19 x 6 miles – and move away from reliance on a fluctuating oil market.
In addition to abundant sunshine, Aruba also enjoys a trade breeze to keep wind turbines turning. However, Utilities Aruba is also looking at further options, should there ever be an unlikely shortage of sun or wind. Ocean thermal technology is among these, while energy storage technology is also being researched. The island is also looking at construction techniques to improve buildings’ efficiency, recycling and reduce water consumption.
Meanwhile, initiatives in other areas have already been put in place: Aruba is the first island in the Caribbean to introduce electric, zero-emission buses. It hopes to convert all public and private vehicles into electrified alternatives by the same target date of 2020.
For more information about Aruba, go to www.aruba.com