Monday, May 20, 2024


Caribbean: Recap – Richard Branson’s Ten Island Renewable Challenge

Caribbean: Recap – Richard Branson’s Ten Island Renewable Challenge

The long wait is almost over – Sir Richard Branson’s Caribbean private island, Necker Island, is set to showcase the latest in wind turbine and solar technology. We check out the story so far.

Necker Island - Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Necker Island – Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

As reported in Private Island News earlier this year, Sir Richard Branson’s beautiful Caribbean private island escape, Necker Island, once again finds itself at the forefront of environmental innovation, this time as part of the Ten Island Renewable Challenge.

The deadline for the energy-saving proposals has now been and gone, leaving the adjudicators with the not so simple task of selecting a winner. As we wait to find out which candidates have been selected to implement their ideas, the Private Island News Team thought it was high time give our readers a re-cap on the story so far.


  • Carbon War Room (CWR)
    Harnessing the power of entrepreneurs to unlock market-driven solutions to climate change 

    • Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2009 as an entrepreneurial solution to climate change. Aims to remove barriers which currently prevent capital flowing to sustainable solutions.
    • Involved in a broad array of projects, with central aims including energy efficiency, renewable fuels in aviation, shipping efficiency and smart island economies.
    • Invited to take part at Rio+20, where it committed over USD 1 billion to climate change action, in an attempt to support governments on the quest to implement low carbon growth:  “While governments have stalled in obtaining mandates to promote ambitious targets and frameworks – the private sector is ripe with opportunities for scaling clean technologies and reducing greenhouse gases. This is where the Carbon War Room comes in: An industry catalyst – moving private capital to markets and creating market demand to scale clean technologies that are already proven and mature.”
  • Rio+20 – June 20-22 2012Conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community
    Objectives: how to build a green economy / how to improve poverty / improve international coordination for sustainable development

    • Government representatives failed to abolish fossil fuel subsidies despite  general consensus that money would be better used for investing in new, cleaner technologies
    • Where the government failed to act, individuals and enterprises took up responsibility – including the likes of the Carbon War Room and Greenpeace
    • CWC starts a new operation – “Smart Island Economies” – by pledging USD 1 billion and by outlining a plan to help small islands switch to clean energy
  • Smart Island Economies
    A Carbon War Room sponsored plan to help small islands switch to clean energy 

    • Islands face increasing challenges from their dependence on imported fossil fuels and the demand that tourism places on the island’s resources
    • Natural energy resources are abundant on islands. However, the systems required to use them have not been widely implemented and scaled
    • Multi-market barriers such as local permitting, long-term fossil fuel contracts, and other legislative barriers prohibit small islands from making a change
    • By creating a scaled regional approach, CWR hopes to help small island economies become smart island economies, and help them turn fossil fuel free
  • Ten Island Renewable Challenge
    A mission to sign up 10 islands to the Small Island Economies Operation by 2014 

    • Following on from this plan, the CWR started the Ten Island Renewable Challenge – a mission to sign up 10 islands to the Small Island Economies Operation by 2014.
    • Works with islands to build their own renewable energy models, find the solutions that match the islands needs and at the same time, provide the opportunities on island that motivate investors and funders to work with them
    • ARUBA, ST. LUCIA and the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS have already signed up to the initiative, with the likes of Grenada and a series of Pacific Islands looking likely to follow in their footsteps.
    • The criteria for joining the island challenge are as follows:
      • Potential for impact on the environment, economy & everyday households
      • A government who is willing to share and commit to the ideals of the CWR
      • Readiness for transformation at whatever stage of the development
      • A vision that aligns with that of the Carbon War Room
  • Necker Island

    • Branson volunteered Necker Island, as a “demo-site” to test new green technologies which work towards reducing and eliminating the use of fossil fuels
    • A request for proposals was announced in February 2013, and featured two phases of bids – one to do with solar energy and another featuring wind turbine technology
    • The deadline for proposals was earlier this month, with more news about the winning ideas and how they will be implemented set to follow soon


Stay tuned to Private Island News throughout the coming weeks for further news about the winning bids and Necker Island’s energy-free future.



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