US Virgin Islands aim for 60% reduction in fossil fuel energy consumption by 2025

Energy Development in Island Nations is an international partnership focused on helping small island developing states increase their energy independence.  Their most ambitious pilot project is based in the US Virgin Islands, whose goal is to reduce its fossil fuel based energy consumption by 60 percent over the next 12 years.

I recently traveled to St. Croix to meet with Karl Knight, the Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Energy Office.  We discussed how the Virgin Islands plan to meet this goal, and their progress since the project’s launch in late 2009.  Read More

EDIN: An island resource for energy independence

Four years ago Iceland, New Zealand, and the United States formed an international partnership called Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN).  Its purpose is to help small island states and territories increase their energy independence through renewable energy technologies and the adaptation of energy efficiency measures.

EDIN brings together policy, technical, and financial support to help guide clean energy solutions in key regions and islands.  Their objective is to use the experience gained from several pilot projects already underway to develop a holistic model that responds to unique energy use and infrastructure issues, and which can be replicated among island nations.  Read More

Slow islands

Last week I traveled to the US Virgin Islands.  Door to door it took 12 hours – by car, plane, foot, ferry, and car again.  A long day of travel turned into a long day of contemplation, which caused me to think about the relationship between the slow cities movement and sustainable islands.

Photo: fensterbme

Slow cities – or Citta Slow – were born from the slow food movement in Italy.  Its advocates argue for the preservation of traditional structures in not only food sources, but also in infrastructure, culture, environmental policy, and sustainable energy.   Read More

The high cost of air conditioning

One of the many challenges facing small island developing states is to devise ways that stretch the capacity of the electrical infrastructure.  And one of the great burdens placed on that infrastructure is the demand placed on it from air conditioning.

As incomes rise the demand for air conditioning accelerates.  One estimate predicts that consumption of energy for cooling could increase ten times by 2050.  For island nations and territories, where the cost of electricity often exceeds mainland prices by a factor of three or four or more, this is a sobering scenario.  Read More

The link between inequality and sustainable development

The debate over how inequality affects growth has been raging for decades.  Mostly, the discussion centers on developed nations.  In particular, the issue has come to the fore in recent election cycles in Europe and the US.  But this is an important issue for all nations, and especially small island developing states, to deal with as they struggle with how to create policies that boost sustainable development while building their middle class.


The Economist recently published a special report on the world economy that focused directly on the causes and consequences of growing inequality in the world today.  In this article we outline their sober reporting, along with the prescriptions they recommend. Read More