During last year’s hurricane season, Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) Islands Energy Programme issued a call to action – focusing on rebuilding a resilient and renewable future for Caribbean islands.

Instead of investing capital into reconstructing the existing electricity grid (based on old technology), RMI worked with island governments and utilities to leapfrog ahead with energy systems that will make the Caribbean region far less vulnerable to future storms – creating a blueprint for the electric grid of the future. Their programme focuses on three key pillars – energy and resilience planning, project development and implementation support, and capacity building. 

Energy and resilience planning

RMI has supported five island nations seeking to transition away from imported diesel-fueled electricity, to clean energy with national energy transition strategies and integrated resource plans. These action plans have helped address barriers preventing the energy transition and have unlocked dozens of renewable energy projects across the region.

Capacity building & thought leadership

When natural disasters impact island nations, it is critical for utilities to have a platform to rapidly assess the impacts, communicate with affected utilities, and mobilise the required resources to match the need. It is imperative that the lessons learned from the responses are captured and disseminated and it is critical to establish response plans and build local capacity to respond to disaster events in order to minimize the loss of life and impacts to the economy.

Despite the advances that have been made in the region post-Irma and Maria, there is still much that needs to be done to build stronger and more resilient power systems throughout the Caribbean. RMI intends to keep working with key government and utility partners with a focus on integrating resiliency into energy planning and project preparation processes.

- Learn more about RMI's Islands Energy Programme in their most recent Islands Impact Update.