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British Virgin Islands Turn To Renewable Energy After Hurricane Irma

By Koty Neelis

It was almost a year ago when Hurricane Irma devastated the British Virgin Islands (BVI), knocking out power for over six months. With winds of 185 miles per hour, the hurricane left the island scattered with down electricity poles and 400 miles of uprooted electrical cable. Like most small islands, BVI depended on traditional energy sources, but post-Irma they've found new opportunities with renewable energy.

To better protect themselves in the face of future natural disasters, BVI is moving toward solar and geothermal alternatives including a number of solar energy initiatives. The main island of Tortola, for example, is planning a 3-megawatt solar project led by local firm Caribbean Alternative Energy. 

“It’s in our interest to work very hard at getting as much as possible renewable energy produced,” Mark Vanterpool, BVI minister for communications and works, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.