Not Just a Lot of Hot Air :: Bonaire

Last year Bonaire was the recipient of the prestigious Islands Magazine/Caribbean Tourism Organization 2008 Sustainable Tourism Award. The Island was awarded the honor in recognition of their longstanding commitment and leadership role in marine conservation and for their proactive measures in protecting the marine environment. But that was just the beginning as Bonaire continues on its path toward becoming the first Caribbean island powered by 100% sustainable energy.

Some Nerdy Facts:

In 2007, the island government, which takes pride in the island’s beauty and nature preservation, agreed to a multi-faceted project to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel energy by developing an energy system comprised of an 11MW wind farm, 14MW biodiesel plant, and a 3MW backup battery. Ecopower Bonaire BV, a consortium consisting of Evelop, Enercon, and MAN, is spearheading this project that is expected to complete its first phase by the end of 2009.

The project developers have already completed the installation of a pilot 330KW wind turbine, whose current energy production exceeds any initial expectations. Accordingly, 12 additional 990 KW wind turbines are being installed on the north coast of the island, where wind and surf conditions are most ideal. By the end of 2009, these wind turbines should produce 44% of the island’s energy. The remaining 56% will be produced by the planned 14MW biodiesel generators, utilizing fuel derived from algae, which will enable the island to shift to 100% sustainable energy supply within five years.

Some Fun Facts:

Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving, (it won Favorite Dive Destination in the World by (June, 2008) and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing. And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.

Coming Up:

In 2009, the island will be Celebrating Bonaire’s Commitment to Conservation, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Washington-Slagbaai National Park and the 30th Anniversary of the Bonaire National Marine Park. There will be a variety of festivities and events throughout the year, celebrating these combined years of nature protection for the island.

For more information check out Bonaire’s official web site

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