'Energy independence' is a term we hear a lot of politicians throw around, but not too many actually follow through on their plans or promises.
Aruba, however, is actually making good on its goal of energy independence. The tiny Caribbean country is not only addressing its energy concerns but is actually on track to become fully energy independent by 2020, thanks to a number of clean-energy investments and initiatives.
Sure, it might be easier for a country that measures about 20 x 6 miles to achieve energy independence than it is for, say, the U.S., but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from this country and what it is doing to get its energy situation in order. Let’s take a look at some lessons we can take away from Aruba's example:
Public Transportation: All Electric
Aruba has made its public transportation system completely electric, which eliminates all greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicles themselves. Signing a “memorandum of understanding” with a company called BYD Company Limited, Aruba has made its all-electric public transportation grid a near-reality.
Aruba is rich in wind and solar energy, which is why taking advantage of these abundant renewable resources is such an important cornerstone in its efforts to become self-sustaining. You can now spot wind farms on the island’s coast, which means that the warm Caribbean breeze is no longer just a source of comfort but a source of actual energy as well.
One oft-overlooked factor when it comes to energy independence is energy storage. If a country is incapable of storing its energy effectively and efficiently, then it likely won’t have the flexibility to be fully energy independent. A season of high energy demand could deplete its available energy resources. Stored-up energy grants the flexibility necessary to sustain Aruba in its energy independence. The island has enhanced its storage abilities by utilizing BYD’s grid-scale technology, which means that there doesn’t have to be a daily breeze in order for Aruba to have ample energy to sustain itself.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Aruba’s goal of energy independence is its commitment. The country took bold steps toward achieving energy independence and backed up its ambitious talk with real, solid objectives.
Aruba isn’t just talking about about becoming self-sustaining when it comes to power — it is working to establish the grid and infrastructure that will enable its energy independence by 2020.
What will be the next country to follow suit?
Carrie Thompson works with Prestige Vacations Aruba and sinks her feet into the sunny sand whenever she gets the chance. Her favorite places to visit are the sunny beaches of the Carolinas as well as those in Florida. Follow Carrie’s travels on Google+.