“Late in November 2007 the Dutch-German consortium EcoPower Bonaire BV announced the signing of a contract with the Water and Energy Company of Bonaire to build and operate a sophisticated new sustainable wind-diesel power plant. From the end of 2009 the power plant is to supply the small Caribbean island with 10 MW wind capacity supplemented by 13 MW (bio)diesel power. Eize de Vries talked with Dirk Berkhout, a board member of EcoPower partner Econcern, about the project and its potential as a model for other island or remote regions.
Along with its ‘ABC island’ neighbours Aruba and Curacao, the tiny Caribbean island of Bonaire is located some 80 km north of the Venezuelan coast. During its long history it has served as a plantation island and a salt producer.Today the island also attracts a modest number of tourists – mainly divers drawn to its outstanding marine environment – and strives towards environmental protection and conservation. With a population of 12,000 persons Bonaire’s peak electricity demand is approximately 12 MW, currently served by a set of rented container (light-fuel) diesel gensets with a rated capacity of 12 MW.”
Blessed with both high sun and wind hours and small size, Bonair promises to be a shining example of what alternative energy can achieve when integrated at the national level.