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Virgin Island Energy Development in Island Nations Announcement

EDIN Announces New Projects in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, and across the Pacific

April 9, 2009

HONOLULU, HI, — The International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) today announced three new pilot projects. The U.S. pilot project participant will be the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI); Iceland’s pilot project will be working with Dominica; and New Zealand will work to assess geothermal potential for numerous Pacific Island Nations.

Launched in August 2008, EDIN is an international partnership between Iceland, New Zealand and the United States to further the use of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies in island nations and territories. The pilot announcements were made on the final day of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Conference on Business Opportunities in the Islands.

“Islands nations and territories are especially vulnerable to energy price volatility and dependence on foreign oil,” said EDIN Secretariat, Mary Werner, executive manager of integrated deployment for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  “Islands often have abundant renewable resources, including solar, geothermal, wind and ocean energy.  Through this collaboration, our countries can help their island economies across the globe to develop clean energy while increasing their energy security and addressing the climate crisis.”

U.S. Virgin Islands

The choice of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as the U.S. pilot project reflects a commitment of EDIN and the leaders of USVI, led by Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., to bring about fundamental changes to the way energy is used in the territory.  USVI’s effort will focus on deploying the maximum amount of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies to achieve specific and measurable clean energy targets.  A specific work plan is under development that will identify key needs, projects, and goals that EDIN will help USVI achieve.

The approach and plan will build upon the experience that the US has gained through participating in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), which aims to meet 70 percent of the state’s energy needs with clean energy sources by 2030.  Both the Hawaii and USVI efforts will focus on using indigenous renewable energy resources and improved energy efficiency.   Addressing technology, policy, and finance aspects will be part of this effort to achieve their goals.

Iceland and Dominica Collaboration

The Icelandic authorities introduce the Commonwealth of Dominica as Iceland’s Pilot Project Participant for the EDIN Partnership.  Dominica has significant geothermal resources and Iceland has longstanding expertise in using this sustainable energy source for economic, social and environmental benefits. When the oil crisis struck Iceland in 1973 and 1979, Iceland changed its energy policy, deemphasized oil, and turned to domestic energy resources using hydropower and geothermal. As a result, Iceland is a world leader in the use of renewable energy —  81% of the nation’s primary energy consumption and 99.9% of electricity generation is now from renewables. The partnership with Dominica will build on Iceland’s proven model of transition from a fossil fuel dependent economy to a clean energy economy.

As stated in a Memorandum of Understanding signed April 6th, 2009, an important aspect of the initiative is capacity-building within relevant Dominican governmental institutions.  With this purpose in mind, the United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP) in Iceland and short courses held on various continents in geothermal training are open for qualified candidates from energy institutions in Dominica.

Iceland’s Island Growth Initiative (IGI), introduced in 2007, initiated Icelandic-Caribbean cooperation and was the cornerstone to collaboration between the two countries in the field of energy.

Geothermal Potential in the Pacific

New Zealand’s initial project under the EDIN Partnership is to assess the potential for geothermal electricity generation within a number of Pacific Island Nations including U.S. territories.  The assessment is being carried out by New Zealand’s GNS Science, New Zealand’s leading Earth systems research institute.  The work is sponsored by the New Zealand Ministries of Economic Development; Research, Science and Technology; and, Foreign Affairs and Trade.  The study will be based on existing literature and knowledge of the geothermal potential of Pacific Islands.

Geothermal resources have the potential to provide base load electricity at a fraction of the cost of diesel generation, which is used as the main source of electricity in many Pacific Islands.  Eighteen island nations will be considered in this report, which will include detailed assessments for islands that have high geothermal potential together with an assessment of their grid capacity and load factors. All of this data is essential for considering the “fit” of geothermal to the existing grid infrastructure.  The report will be completed in mid-June.

After the report is issued, it is anticipated that further work will be undertaken to ensure the fit between potential developments and the aspirations of Pacific Island nations.  Working with island nations to further the use of renewable energy technologies is the ultimate objective of this project.

For more information on EDIN, please visit


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