Bonaire’s Winds of Change
Oft-overlooked Bonaire, a tiny “flapjack flat” island ringed by coral reefs in the Dutch Caribbean, revealed plans earlier this year to climb aboard the eco-mania bandwagon and become a carbon-neutral island. And they’re not just blowing hot air: The substance behind Bonaire’s claims stem from a new wind/diesel project designed to provide the entire island with wind-powered electricity by the end of 2008.
The project is a collaboration of Bonaire’s local energy company and EcoPower Bonaire BV. Construction of a new wind turbine is already underway and will be installed on Bonaire’s southeast coast, an area with favorable climate conditions where a defunct turbine currently stands.
The next phase, which is due to be completed late next year, will be the addition of a wind farm of about a dozen turbines on the northeast coast, and the construction of a diesel power plant. According to a news release from Econcern, part of the consortium that makes up EcoPower Bonaire BV, “under ideal circumstances, the new wind farm alone could meet Bonaire’s current electrical needs.”
In addition to generating energy using wind farms, Bonaire is looking to develop bio-diesel fuel from the island’s natural wealth of algae.
Read how Bonaire’s natural integrity stacked up against 110 other islands in the 4th annual “Places Rated” survey, featured in the November/December issue of National Geographic Traveler. Our panel of 522 experts grade 111 islands according to their ability to avoid the dangers of too much tourism.
Photo: Kevin “Elvis” King of Pensacola, Fla.
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