The Government of Belize has announced its intention to become fully powered by renewable energy, after joining the Carbon War Room's high profile Ten Island Challenge. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed to join the Ten Island Challenge, a partnership initiative between Carbon War Room (CWR) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).
The move signals the Caribbean country’s commitment to transition its transportation sector and outlying islands off of fossil fuel use. Belize will particularly focus on installing wind turbines and shifting the islands' transport sector towards electric vehicles.
This move will allow Belize to make significant strides in realizing its renewable energy production target of 89% in the electricity sector by 2033. The country currently sources 60% of its electricity from local hydro and biomass resources, and the remaining 40% is from imported fossil fuel resources.
“We are thrilled to have Belize join the challenge. Belize is a real leader in the region, producing 60% of its electricity from local and renewable hydro and biomass resources,” said José María Figueres, Chairman of the Board of CWR and RMI.
These organizations will work with the Belizean government to develop strategies that will help Belize reach its low-carbon objectives while also creating economic solutions for reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Belize will focus on projects including the exploration of potential wind energy resources and electric automobiles, the adaptation of policy and programs for sustainable mobility, the development of a partnership with Belize Electricity Limited and examination for the potential improvement of energy efficiency in hospitals across the country.
Senator Joy Grant of the Belize Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities said that Belize is pleased to join the Ten Island Challenge, which includes other Caribbean nations working to transition their economies away from heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
“Achieving this milestone will also allow Belize to enhance its energy security and build its energy resiliency, while ensuring that it buffers its economy from the oil-price chocks that have debilitating impacts on small, open economies like Belize,” she said.
The challenge, set by Richard Branson's environmental NGO and supported by the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Clinton Climate Initiative, has already been adopted by seven other Caribbean nations, including Grenada, St. Lucia and the Bahamas.
The NGOs maintain that island nations are an excellent test bed for clean technologies, as they are often reliant on costly and polluting imported diesel, meaning it is easier to make a financial case for switching to renewable energy.