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Clean Energy Island: Maldives Goes Carbon Neutral

Making an entire country or U.S. state carbon neutral would “rock the world,” at least according to former President Bill Clinton. He suggested that move (along with 10 specific policy points) in a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last summer. Since then, a string of nations have set ambitious renewable energy and carbon-reduction targets. Many of these countries have at least one thing in common: They’re surrounded by water.

maldivesThe Maldives, which yesterday announced a goal of achieving complete carbon neutrality within a decade, comes as the latest addition to a growing number of islands going all out for clean technology. As Reuters reports, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed said yesterday that the $1.1 billion plan involves swapping out fossil fuels for 155 1.5-MW wind turbines and a half-square-kilometer solar farm to power the republic’s 200 inhabited islands. For greenhouse gas emissions associated with tourists’ air travel, Nasheed said the government will offset the environmental impact by buying and destroying EU carbon credits.

After the state-owned electric utility becomes privatized, it will open up investment and donation options to help finance the effort. Outside investment will also be needed.

Last month, we wrote about a 70 million euro (about $90 million) smart grid project that IBM (s IBM) has planned for Malta. Big Blue wants to complete the first national smart grid network on the archipelago by 2012, complete with 250,000 smart meters that will enable the national utilities and their customers to better manage energy and water use. IBM also joined a smart grid project in Denmark last month that will start off with test work on a small island before tackling the whole nation.

In the U.S., Hawaii has made a big push for clean energy, aiming 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Last July, the U.S. Department of Energy and New Zealand launched the International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations, which is meant to promote development of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies in island nations and territories.

Many island-state governments have a sense of urgency when it comes to addressing climate change, because island economies and residents will likely suffer some of the earliest, harshest consequences of rising sea levels and increased frequency of severe tropical storms as a result of climate change. They also offer closed systems where companies can gather data on how an entire network or community interacts with their technology, and where fossil-fuel imports are often costly.

Maldives photo credit Flickr user notsogoodphotography

10 Responses to “Clean Energy Island: Maldives Goes Carbon Neutral”

  1. Maldives looks like a great place. I think even though the US talks a tough game with renewable energy we really have not taken any major steps compared to many other countries. Of course we have a lot of problems going on right now that might hinder are progress but if you look at all of our problems right now they could have all probably been prevented by not having to rely on foreign energy.

  2. hsr0601

    I guess the great depression had a great deal of natural energy sources, today the current initial depression has great technologies instead. It is likely that this moment is the last chance to survive as the environment to invest in a new energy base is going to be getting worse down the road.
    I would love to suggest ‘A Global Green New Deal’ and stress only two recent progresses:
    1. Researchers at MIT have designed a new battery that can recharge devices about 100 times faster than conventional lithium ion batteries. The design could lead to electric car batteries that charge in 5 minutes

    1. Breakthrough Spin Battery Size of Hair Could Run Electric Car For Miles:
      the actual device has a diameter of a human hair, the energy that could be stored in it could potentially run a car for miles.
      Physicists at the University of Miami and Tokyo and Tohoku have invented a radical new type of battery in the laboratory. The profound findings were published in the journal Nature.

    As the oil reserve declines, even the oil-rich UAE is committed to renewable energy movement, which is also in the oil-producing countries’ interest, even if they keep silent, accordingly they will not keep the oil price low in the long term, I suppose. And G20 & OPEC meetings might indicate that ‘a global green new deal’ is going to be a solution as the energy is both life and common ground for world-wide economic prosperity.