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Renewable energy has been on the minds of people across the Caribbean, after the devastating Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico left residents without power for almost a year. After the destruction of the island’s power grid, many have called for the construction of a more resilient system using microgrids and community-led initiatives to increase resilience to future storms.

This movement presents an opportunity for Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, which have traditionally relied on fossil fuels, to move towards greater implementation of renewable energy. This is not only good for the environment but increases energy security and benefits the local economy. Last week in Jamaica, which currently spends US$3.4 billion each year on importing fossil fuels, the Prime Minister declared a goal for 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Islands across the world are at the cutting edge of energy technology, changing their economies to use sustainable energy, push adoption of electric vehiclesand upgrade their grids. The high cost of electricity in many islands means that there are financial pressures to change at the earliest possibility. Islands will be just the tip of the spear, as larger economies start to follow suit and face even more pressure to move away from fossil fuels. In the coming decades, will large countries look to islands for insights into how to modernize their own electricity grids?

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This occasional newsletter highlights events and stories about innovation in sustainable development for rural, remote and island regions. We want to change the discourse to demonstrate how islandness can be a driver for innovation.

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