In the span of just a few years, the focus at the annual Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation conference has shifted from issues around producing electricity from thermal capacity — usually oil — to what blend of renewable options constitutes the best path forward.
It is not just a theoretical question for the future, says Risto Paldanius, director of business development for Wärtsilä’s Energy Storage and Optimization business unit, a longtime attendee of the conference.
“It has clearly shifted, and now that the [levelized cost of energy, or
LCOE] for renewables is on par or lower than any thermal generation,
it’s all about solar and wind,” said Paldanius. “Then the questions
become how to achieve the 100 percent renewable future everyone is
talking about without causing disturbances in the grid and effectively
managing solar ramp rates and generation optimization.”
They are not questions rooted only in environmental sustainability; they also address life-saving resiliency, as seen with storms that have battered communities and their power grids on many islands with devastating outcomes in the past two years, including in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Anguilla.
The Caribbean region is a
tropical paradise, but there are things you need to know before you
embark on your next sunny holiday to make sure everything runs smoothly.
trees, sandy beaches, turquoise waters, great music… you’ll find all
that, and more, throughout the Caribbean. Most islands are easy to get
to, and easy to vacation at, but even so, there are some things every
traveler needs to know before going to the Caribbean. These helpful tips
will help you decide when and where to go, what to expect when you’re
there, and what you might like to do.
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Bring Your Passport… and U.S. Dollars
You’ll need a valid passport to enter any of the Caribbean islands—and to re-enter the United States—except for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most non-U.S. islands also require a return or ongoing airline ticket. But don’t worry about the local currency. U.S. dollars—but not coins—are widely accepted everywhere. Bring small bills, though, as you’ll almost always get change in local money—including from an ATM. Actually, there are 13 different currencies in the Caribbean: The Bahamas, Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago all have their own dollars; Cuba and the Dominican Republic have pesos; the French islands use euros; the Dutch islands have guilders, although Aruba uses florin; and then there’s the Haitian gourde.
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English Is Widely Spoken
English is commonly understood, spoken, and written throughout the Caribbean, although French is the preferred language on Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barth, St. Martin, and Haiti. You’ll also hear a French-Creole patois spoken in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Haiti. On the Dutch islands, you’ll hear both Dutch and English spoken, while Papiamento (which adds Spanish, Portuguese, French, African, and Arawakan elements to the Dutch/English mix) is the local patois in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Spanish, of course, is the most prevalent language in the Dominican Republic and Cuba; but in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, Spanish and English are both official languages. All of that said, English-speakers should have no problem understanding or being understood in the Caribbean.
Last week the Government of St. Kitts proudly announced the
completion of the second pier in Basseterre, St. Kitts. After two years
of continuous hard work and $48 million invested, the new cruise ship
dock in port Zante is ready to receive its first passengers.
new pier means Port Zante can now simultaneously host up to three of the
world’s largest cruise ships. With a population of just 55,000
residents, our small yet ambitious Caribbean nation can now claim the
status held by many of the region’s larger passenger cruise-ship
destinations. It’s a necessary and logic expansion, considering that the
islands have welcomed one million visitors during each of the past two
cruise seasons. A milestone visitor volume for our small and still
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) met with officials in St. Kitts and Nevis this week to discuss further development of the country’s cruise sector. They believe that we can soon become the Caribbean destination where cruise-goers choose to spend the most money. According to FCCA’s president, Michele Paige, her organization estimates that this could become a reality with the next three years.
When St. Thomian Adrien Austin founded Drive Green VI six years ago, he dreamed of igniting a revolution in how Virgin Islanders drove – or what they drove – and in a bid to accelerate the process, he put electric cars at the forefront of his venture.
“Nowhere in the world does a car depreciate or break down as fast as in the Virgin Islands,” said Austin. “The goal was to bring in a few new kinds of technology, do my own R&D out of my own pocket, figure out what works, try and push this technology, see what the market is receptive to.”
Since then, electric cars, vehicles that run purely on batteries as opposed to internal combustion engines, have multiplied on the roads of St. Thomas as demand continues to rise, driven by expensive per-gallon cost of gas in the territory and an increasing awareness of climate change pushing residents to pursue a neutral carbon footprint. Austin’s company has so far sold roughly 50 electric cars, and he estimates St. Thomas has about 150 in total.
But it was a bumpy road to normalizing the use of electric cars on island. About five years ago, Austin brought down five Wheegos, another type of electric car, and one Nissan Leaf. He wanted to explore how these vehicles would fare on the island’s terrains, find out if they had enough power-to-weight ratio to maneuver the hilly, tortuous roads, and identify which cars performed better than others. Austin said.
Travelers tend to think of all Caribbean islands as verdant and lush, but some Caribbean destinations are decidedly “greener” than others. Dominica, for example, has a well-earned reputation as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, while Bonaire is known for its pristine marine environment and Costa Rica and Belize are among the top eco-friendly travel locales in the world. As for eco-resorts, the ones selected here boast low-impact integration with the native environment, commitment to reduced energy use and/or renewable energy, and activities that support and foster knowledge of the local ecosystem.
Dominica benefits from its marvelous biodiversity, and has chosen to make ecotourism (and the conservation and preservation practices that go along with it) the foundation of its economic development. Dominica has lush jungles for hiking and mysterious rivers for exploring, and visitors can meet Carib Indians and even walk in the footsteps of Capt. Jack Sparrow — some of the wilder scenes in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed here.
Americans are not generally known for their restraint when it comes to development, so St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a pleasant surprise. Just twenty square miles, the island is devoted primarily to National Parks, and has some of the best beaches and finest snorkeling in the world. Most of the eco-resorts here are modest, more akin to campgrounds than resorts, generally speaking, but great locations for those looking to appreciate the natural environment in a quiet, more off-the-grid setting.
Costa Rica is in the top 5 of countries that are leading the way into renewable resources. It might seem small but it has a really big environmental impact. Since 2014 the country’s energy has been coming from 99% renewable sources, and it has been running on 100% renewable energy for over two months twice in the last two years. Then, since June 2017 they have been set on eradicating single-use plastic by 2021. The first be the first country in the world to do this. And most recently, in the summer of 2018, the country announced its aims to become completely carbon-neutral by the year 2021 – The first completely carbon-free country in the whole world.
“Basing [electricity] generation on renewable resources allows the country to achieve one of the lowest ratios of greenhouse gas emissions to electrical consumption on the planet,” the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) indicated in a statement.
Over the past 4 years, Costa Rica has generated all but 1 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as its rivers, volcanoes, wind and solar power. The hydroelectric plant on the Reventazón River, on the Caribbean slope, began operations in 2016. It’s the largest plant of its kind in Central America. They also have seven wind turbine plants, six hydroelectric plants and a solar plant. A statement from ICE indicated that ¾ of renewable energy came from hydroelectric plants using river water; the rest was geothermal and wind power, with biomass then solar power constituting the smallest percentage.
In the Caribbean paradise of St. Barth, there are no less than 14 beaches spread across the enclave, each radiating with its own singular character and charm.
From isolated stretches of sand to entertainment-laden hotspots, there’s something for every type of beach enthusiast on the island. Explore beyond Le Guanahani’s stunningly beautiful Grand-Cul-de-Sac and Marechal beaches to discover St. Barth’s seaside treasures and all they have to offer. Below, local staff members at the hotel share their personal favorites.
According to Le Guanahani Managing Director Martein van Wagenberg, the beach at Gouverneur Bay provides one of the island’s most exclusively idyllic shoreline experiences.
“It has clear waters, soft sand, natural sun protection by sea grape trees, and scooping pelicans,” he says. “It’s your own quiet and private beach in the mornings.”
Because of its remote location, Gouverneur remains relatively untouched compared to other St. Barth beaches. A ten-minute drive southeast from Gustavia, it’s a sanctuary for swimming, sunbathing, or diving into a gratifying beach read. While parking here is easy to find and close to the beach, there are no facilities available, so it may be a good idea to bring along water and chairs.
From its abundant wildlife to the mountains that plunge into the sea on either side of the white strip of sand, the bay shimmers with natural beauty. Find the rocks on its east side for spectacular snorkeling conditions. And looking seaward from the beach, visitors can savor resplendent views of neighboring Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Kitts rising in the background.
Cruise ships, charities and international relief organizations are rushing to deliver aid to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian battered the Caribbean country, leaving at least 76,000 people in need of urgent support, according to the United Nations.
The state of play: Dorian has destroyed at least 13,000 homes and led to extensive flooding in the Abaco Islands, believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater, and resulted in “an urgent need for clean water,” per the International Red Cross. The rush to provide aid to the country has begun with numerous organizations and individuals offering to donate goods and resources.
The cost of the damages: Preliminary estimates value damages in the billions of dollars for the Bahamas.
Who has helped:
The UN arranged for 8 tons of food to be sent to the Bahamas Sept. 5 as part of a $5.4 million overall funding package. A UN hub in Panama is also preparing an airlift to drop off storage units, generators and and more.
USAID is on the ground in the Bahamas after the Trump administration requested “airlift and logistics support” from the Defense Department, reports the Miami Herald. The agency has delivered food and water.
Oistins. Friday night. Enjoying some delicious local fish? Bridgetown Fish Complex. Saturday morning. Choosing some fresh local fish to cook for Sunday lunch? Chances are that close to ¾ of the ‘local’ fish that you are buying and consuming is not even local. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately 70% of seafood consumed in Barbados is imported.
The fisheries sector, one of the established sectors within the Blue Economy is important for employment, livelihoods and food security. Barbados has a history and culture strongly linked to fish with fishing and associated activities having been integral components of the social and economic fabric of Barbados for years. Approximately 8,000 people are employed in this sector which accounts for ~6% of the labour force with over 1,000 active fishing vessels. Bajans also eat a lot of fish with consumption per capita being very high in the Caribbean region.
However in recent years, annual catches have declined with marine capture production being between 2000 – 2500 tonnes of fish, with flying fish, dolphin fish and yellowfin tuna contributing to the majority of landings. Lower catches and high imports are not the only threats that the fishing industry faces. In addition, overfishing and unsustainable fishing, land based and marine sources of pollution, coastal development and loss of coral reefs, changes in climate and the introduction of invasive species such as lionfish and the influx of sargassum further threaten the fisheries sector.
If you want to enjoy beautiful white sand beaches, friendly locals, windsurfing, kitesurfing or terrific diving – Aruba is a good place to call home (1). You may have been searching for the perfect spot in paradise to retire – or you may just be looking for adventure in a faraway and tropical country. Either way, Aruba could be the right choice for your next destination.
Though you may have spent months or years looking before deciding to choose Aruba, the process of moving can also take time. You’ll need to prepare yourself beforehand, by packing up your household and selecting a qualified international moving service provider. A key part of preparation is also getting all the required paperwork pulled together, and learning about the various import regulations and duties. Here’s most of what you need to know, in one easy guide.
What Are the Duties?
Duties can add a significant amount to the total cost of your move, but fortunately Aruba allows you to be exempted from this expense. To receive import duty exemption, there’s a handful of requirements that you must meet.
First, your primary place of residence must have been outside of Aruba, for a minimum of the last year. This means you must have lived at that address, for a minimum of 185 days in the previous 12 months. You must demonstrate that you lived there for a job, and if not – then show documentation proving you were indeed residing there (not just had an address at that location). Second, you cannot already be a resident of Aruba.
The third requirement is that the belongings you’ll be importing, be used in the same way as in the origin country. For example, if an item was for personal (not commercial) use in your previous residence, it should remain so in Aruba. Fourth, these goods are required to have been used by you, in your residence within your country of origin for at least six months. Fifth, only used goods are eligible for duty exemption (2). Finally, you’re not allowed to sell, let others borrow or even give away these items while in the country (3).
Customs has some regulations that you must follow, when importing your belongings into the country. There’s a time limit to receive duty exemption, and you can’t import a shipment more than 12 months after you enter Aruba (some sources say 6 months). However, if you need more time, it’s possible that an extension may be granted by the Customs Commissioner (if you request it). You can also only receive duty exemption on two shipments total of household goods (4).
If your shipment is denied duty exemption by customs, you have one month to appeal this decision (the Commissioner of Customs will make the final determination). If your appeal to the Commissioner of Customs is again denied – you have another month to appeal to the Board of Appeals in Tax Affairs. It appears that the board’s decision will be final (5).
Aruba requires that you be at the point or port of entry, during the processing of your shipment. Be aware that customs has the full legal authority to examine your shipment, and this could take up to one month to complete. If your shipment violates the import regulations, the Customs Authority can impose fines or disciplinary action. Finally, you’re required to speak with the agent working on your behalf in Aruba, as soon as you enter the country (6).
What Paperwork Will You Need?
When it comes to importing your household belongings, customs requires that you provide the necessary paperwork for your shipment. This includes your passport and Original Bill of Lading (for sea shipments) or Air Waybill (for air shipments). An import declaration and Tax ID from the Tax Service Office are also required (7). An ID card may also be needed, and whether this is a separate document isn’t clear.
For census purposes, you’ll also need a Certificate of Registration from the Population Register in Aruba (customs will want this in triplicate). You’ll also need a Residence Permit from the Directorate of Alien Integration, Policy & Admission (DIMAS for short). A packing list is also mandatory documentation, along with a Household Goods Form and Exemption Declaration Form. A Duty Exemption Request Form (Form C420) should also be provided (8).
Finally, customs will need to see a comprehensive inventory, which includes monetary values for all of your items. This also must be submitted in triplicate, and it should bear your signature and the date (9).
What Are the Duties For Your Vehicle?
Turning from the importation of your household goods to your vehicle, you may be wondering what duties you’ll pay. You’ll be relieved to discover, that Aruba does allow you to be exempt from import duties – if you meet a single requirement. You must have owned and used the vehicle at your previous primary residence, for a minimum of the last six months.
If your vehicle successfully receives duty exemption, you’re not allowed to sell or transfer ownership of it while in the country. The vehicle also can’t be lent to others, used as security or placed in escrow. Exceptions to these rules are possible, but you must request one from the Commissioner of Customs. You also must give the Technical Department of Customs the Excise Documents for the vehicle – and you’re not guaranteed approval of your request (10).
Import Regulations For Your Vehicle
Aruba is quite open to the importation of all different types of vehicles. If you meet the requirement for exemption covered above, it’s possible to import not only your personal motor vehicle – but also your motorcycle, boat, sports craft or airplane without paying duty. Whether you can bring in more than one of these vehicles at a time isn’t specified, so speak to customs to learn more.
Another regulation imposed by customs, is that your Original Bill of Lading display the engine and chassis numbers, make, model, year and the size of the engine (11). Your shipment can also be examined by customs. Just like with your household goods, this process may take as long as one month. Also, once again if you’re found to be in violation of any regulations – you could face fines or disciplinary action (12).
What Paperwork Is Required For Your Vehicle?
Failure to provide the necessary paperwork, can delay the processing of your shipment – or cause it to be denied entry altogether. Therefore, it’s important that you have the correct documentation. According to knowledgeable international vehicle shipper A1 Auto Transport, Inc. – you’ll need to have your passport, driver’s license and proof of insurance. You’ll also need to show both the title (from the origin country) and a purchase invoice or receipt (13).
Registration from the origin country and insurance documents proving you’ve used the vehicle are also required. Finally, any paperwork that demonstrates you’ve owned the vehicle for the necessary six months to receive duty exemption, should also be provided (14). Typically, the purchase invoice is sufficient for this purpose, but you may choose to give customs additional paperwork – like your maintenance records or receipts.