The U.S. Virgin Islands are renowned for, among other attributes, the clear blue waters that lap and froth at the sandy shores of their beaches. After attending a workshop held at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. announced his intention to make the islands as synonymous with green energy as they are with blue waters by reducing fossil fuel usage by 60 percent over the next 15 years via developing the region’s abundant natural energy resources.
During his visit to the NREL, Governor de Jongh, along with 25 stakeholders from the islands’ public and private sectors, attended presentations made by NREL and Department of Energy (DOE) experts. The subjects at hand: renewable energy systems, market analysis, and the development of renewable energy systems. Admitting that energy costs are high on the islands, the governor signed a memorandum of understanding between the Virgin Islands and federal agencies, the goal of which is to develop “an aggressive renewable energy deployment strategy for the islands that includes transportation, electricity generation and transmission, energy efficiency, and tourism and industry,” in addition to providing public education on those subjects in order to educate the islands’ citizenry.
Citing the memorandum as a critical step toward transforming the islands’ energy system, Governor de Jongh sees other benefits: the instantiation of various renewable energy systems will result in a boom of green jobs, and the renewable energy systems will play a large part in reducing carbon emissions associated with global warming.