Building a more resilient Caribbean

Richard Branson next to solar panels
Image by Owen Buggy
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 15 January 2019

Really excited that BMR Energy has added a solar plant in the Cayman Islands to its portfolio of clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America. I strongly believe we can build a greener, stronger and more resilient Caribbean that’s powered by clean, sustainable energy and accelerated by sound public and private investment.

That’s why we launched the Climate Accelerator last year in the wake of the devastation caused by hurricanes across the region. 26 Caribbean nations came together with more than 40 companies to sign up to the Accelerator, aiming to create the world’s first climate-smart zone. 

It’s also wonderful news that the Caribbean Accelerator has appointed Racquel Moses as CEO to deliver this vision. She has 20 years of business management experience, most recently at Microsoft, and I’m sure she will do a wonderful job in increasing the resiliency of the region. Welcome to the team Racquel! 

It’s so important that we turn the enormous challenge of climate change into a real opportunity for the whole of the Caribbean. We can’t carry on with business as usual in the face of the destruction and suffering that extreme weather events are causing to islanders. The potential for renewable energy is massive in the Caribbean - we are perfectly placed as an example from which clean, innovative energy solutions can scale.  

Richard Branson wearing a light tshirt and sat down with guests at an event smiling and clapping
Image from Virgin.com

That’s why I’m delighted that BMR, a Virgin Group investment, has bought another solar plant. It’s great to see the tangible action stemming from the Caribbean Accelerator launch and the impact these projects can have on the Caribbean region. 

The Cayman Islands’ solar plant is the country’s only utility-scale solar facility – and will really help make the island more resilient and meet their renewable energy goals. It is based on a former rock quarry – generating clean, renewable energy without impacting undisturbed areas on the island. It will be able to provide power to more than 800 homes. The Cayman Islands have a target of supplying 70 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2037, and it is wonderful that BMR will play a role in this journey. 

Image of the Cayman Islands
Image from Getty Images

BMR Energy dedicated much of 2018 to restoring existing solar projects that were damaged during the 2017 hurricane season and have been exploring new promising markets for renewable energy in the region. The company currently has projects in the US Virgin Islands, Guatemala and Jamaica, so it’s great to see another Caribbean nation added to their portfolio.

I can’t wait to see what other progress 2019 has in store for the Caribbean.