Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, and Bruce Levy, CEO of BMR Energy, will meet this week with energy industry and government leaders from all over the Caribbean in order to discuss renewable energy development following the recent hurricanes in the region.
The destructive impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria were experienced across the Caribbean islands and beyond. In Puerto Rico, 85% of citizens are still without power; in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), key generation and distribution infrastructure are experiencing disastrous damage. Access to electricity across other Caribbean islands is very limited.
These Hurricanes have reinforced the requirement for more reliable and resilient energy systems in the region. This will be the central topic of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF), taking place in Miami Oct. 18-20. CREF, the biggest annual gathering of the Caribbean energy market, bringing together global and regional influencers in renewable energy industries and will also include presentations from BMR Energy executives.
BMR will also be co-hosting a private reception with Branson, whose company Virgin Group acquired BMR in 2016, in order to advance collaboration and dialogue with the aim of accelerating progress on clean energy rebuilding projects.
In addition to developing energy security for the region, rebuilding from the hurricanes with renewable energy is also considered to be an opportunity for highlighting the fact that a number of the affected islands have some of the world’s highest electricity prices, mostly because of the dependence on imported fossil fuels like diesel.
Renewable energy projects such as solar and wind farms offer solutions to both challenges: lower costs stemming from producing electricity without the requirement for fuel and decentralized resources that are stronger and easier to repair following natural disasters.
The business and political leaders attending CREF, who include former and current heads of state and experts from global institutions like World Bank and the United Nations, will discuss how to carve the most direct paths in order to rebuild with renewables in the Caribbean. Branson, a resident of the BVI, which were shattered by Hurricane Irma, is a huge advocate of renewable energy. Branson anticipates that the BMR reception will improve industry leaders’ support of his vision for a globally-funded effort to make renewable energy the focus of rebuilding efforts.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria were devastating. It’s certain more of these intense hurricanes will be brought on by climate change in the coming years. There has never been a more important time to push for renewable energy in the Caribbean. We are bringing together international leaders and experts who are in the best position to build a cleaner, more resilient energy future for the Caribbean. BMR Energy is a prime example of these; their expertise in renewables projects will be invaluable as we build a cleaner, more resilient future across the BVI and wider Caribbean.
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder
CREF and the reception follow two milestones for BMR Energy: the achievement of one year of operation at BMR’s award-winning, 36-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Jamaica — the biggest private-sector renewable energy project in Jamaica, and the company’s attainment of the 7 MW Green Solar array in Guatemala — BMR’s very first solar project in Central America.
The milestones indicate steady progress for BMR, a key player in the field of renewables development in the Caribbean that includes 70 years of experience at an executive level with immense commitment to its work via long-term ownership of every project it develops. BMR is also presently involved in the development of extra renewable energy projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, including Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, the Virgin Islands and Mexico.
BMR Energy will be exhibiting at booth 8 at CREF.