Jamaica leads in Richard Branson-backed plan for a Caribbean climate revolution

Sustainable Energy against climate change
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After hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean in 2017, devastating dozens of islands – including billionaire Richard Branson’s private isle, Necker Island – Branson called for a “Caribbean Marshall Plan.”

He wanted world powers and global financial institutions to unite to protect the Caribbean against the effects of climate change.

Branson at a Climate-Smart Accelerator event. Adrian Creary/Studiocraft, CC BY

That hasn’t happened. So Branson and his government partners from 27 Caribbean countries hope that his celebrity, connections and billions will prod local politicians and the financial community to act.

In August 2018, at a star-studded event at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Branson helped to launch the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a US$1 billion effort to kickstart a green energy revolution in the region.

Read full article on TheConversation.com

Branson’s Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean

Branson's Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean
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Virgin Group’s BMR Energy announced Tuesday that it bought a 4-megawatt solar plant from NRG Energy, Inc. in St. Croix that was badly damaged during Hurricane Maria.

BMR Energy will take over the power purchase agreement and restoration efforts of the solar farm, the company said in a press release.

BMR Energy, which develops and operates clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, was purchased by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in 2016.

“The world needs to find ways to introduce more resilient clean energy,” Branson said in the release. “The Caribbean has an abundance of clean energy sources, and BMR are taking great strides towards helping create zero-carbon energy supplies for years to come.”

Rebuilding the storm-wrecked region is a cause that is close to the Virgin founder. The billionaire businessman owns a private island in British Virgin Islands where he rode out both hurricanes Irma and Maria in the space of two weeks.

“I’ve never experienced anything quite like Hurricane Irma,” Branson said in an Instagram video in September. “It literally devastated the British Virgin Islands.”

My experience of Hurricane #Irma

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on


Continue reading full article by Lorraine Chow on  www.ecowatch.com.

Caribbean Must Do Now: Dirty Energy to Clean Power

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NECKER ISLAND, BVI. According to British billionaire, Richard Branson, low-carbon renewable energy conveniences should substitute old fossil fuel-dependent forms when the Caribbean islands are being rebuilt now.

Photo from @richardbranson

Reuters stated he approached the British and US governments and is mustering help from financial institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank and other philanthropists to set up a fund to help Caribbean nations.

“As part of that fund we want to make sure that the Caribbean moves from dirty energy to clean energy,” he said.

It has generally been the norm in Caribbean islands to create power by diesel burning – that forms global warming carbon dioxide, which will increase the frequency of freak weather events.

“I’ve been involved in talking out about climate change for a number of years now… I never thought I was going to be in the front line in quite the way I was two weeks ago,” he said at an event on fuel efficiency.

Branson has been a longtime champion of clean energy. Head of the Virgin Group conglomerate, he co-founded the Carbon War Room in 2009 to accelerate the implementation of business plans that reduce carbon discharges.

In reference to the U.S. program that helped rebuild Western Europe after World War Two, Branson mentioned in his blog that the Caribbean needed a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” to aid in restoring and in long-term economic renewal. Continue reading “Caribbean Must Do Now: Dirty Energy to Clean Power”

Remembering Virgin Gorda, BVI, post-Irma and Maria

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VIRGIN GORDA, BVI. There was a saying on the island of Virgin Gorda that you should leave the key in the ignition of your car as someone might need it. Sadly, the British Virgin Islands, BVI, and the wonderful people who would create such a saying suffered a double blow with hurricanes Irma and Maria this year.

I’ve visited the island of Virgin Gorda, the smaller of the two most famous BVI islands. Tortola is the capital of the BVI and the biggest one.

The former beauty of Virgin Gorda lay not only in its spectacular scenery, but also in its friendly, peace-loving people and, consequently, also how safe it was to stay there. There weren’t any lock and keys on the doors of the house we stayed in – island people asked us: “why should there be?”

Photo of the Baths in Virgin Gorda
Virgin Gorda Baths (image from weddbook.com)

There were no traffic lights in Virgin Gorda, just some speed bumps. These included, it would still take you about 45 minutes to drive from one end of the island to the other. The resorts and beaches were spectacular, especially the signature  swimming pools formed naturally in rocks, called the Baths, and its nature reserve.

You may note this blog speaks of Virgin Gorda in the past – that is because many of its houses, businesses and resort hotels are no more.

Virgin Gorda after effects from Hurricane Irma and Maria
Virgin Gorda after Hurricanes Irma and Maria (image from Caribbean Buzz Helicopters)

But our good memories of this island are not gone – crystal blue oceans, pristine beaches, seafood dining on the ocean, yachting and diving, meeting some celebrities in a night club (which often does happen here), cute donkeys that rove the island and even a personal near-death experience involving a ‘Death Tree’ on a beach.

Now, after hurricanes Irma and Maria, it was BVI resident and Virgin Group owner, Richard Branson, who tweeted that we should act now and help restore it to its former glory:

@richardbranson: “As Mother Nature is so clearly telling us, we need more resilient, safer community planning. The time to act is now.

Fischers Cove Beach Hotel in Virgin Gorda’s Facebook post on September 25 reads: “Fischers Cove received substantial damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria but all of our staff members survived the storms. We have limited rooms available and are on limited generator power. Our Terrace restaurant is open from 11-5:30pm with a daily special as well as our famous pizzas and wings. Sorry no phone service yet! We thank everyone for your kind thoughts and blessings.Fischers Cove Beach Hotel Continue reading “Remembering Virgin Gorda, BVI, post-Irma and Maria”