**Final Wind Turbine is Installed and Diesel Engine Plant in Final Test Phase – Full Conversion Planned for 2015**
Kralendijk, Bonaire – (March 9, 2010) – The island of Bonaire is one step closer toward becoming the first Caribbean island to run on 100% sustainable energy by successfully completing their first test of Diesel Engine Plant and installing the final twelfth wind turbine.
In December 2009, the first successful test of the Diesel Engine Plant, the plant that will burn diesel to augment the wind energy, occurred. This plant will burn algae, an organism that doesn’t take food out of the supply chain, instead of diesel when it is converted later. Additional tests of the diesel plant will take place in January to ensure the results can be replicated, and is scheduled to be operational as of March 20, 2010. Once it’s operational, the plant will begin to gradually feed energy out of the wind into the island’s power grid, increasing the amounts of the feed each week. By mid May 2010, 50% of Bonaire’s energy will come from this source of alternative energy.
The 12 99 wind turbines of each 0.9 MW were installed on the north coast of the island, where wind and surf conditions are most idea. The wind turbines will be producing approximately 50% of the island’s energy. When all goes according to plan the island will be able to shift to 100% sustainable energy when by 2015 these generators will run on bio-fuel derived from algae, an organism that does not take food out of the supply chain.
The project began in 2007, when Bonaire’s government which takes pride in the island’s beauty and nature preservation, agreed to a multifaceted project to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel energy by developing an energy system comprised of a 11.9 MW wind farm, 14 MW biodiesel plant, and a 3 MW backup battery.
All electricity generated will be delivered to WEB (Water and Energy Bonaire). After completion of the entire project, Ecopower Bonaire BV will remain owner of the wind-biodiesel system. The total cost for this project is $75 million; $60 million for generators and turbines, $15 million for network extension.
Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and seep sea and bone fishing. And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.
Bonaire is the recipient of the prestigious Islands Magazine/Caribbean Tourism Organization 2008 Sustainable Tourism Award and continues to be recognized as one of the top destinations worldwide for its sustainable tourism as reported by National Geographic Traveler magazine (March 2004) and Islands Magazine (December 2007), and as one of the top diving destinations in the Atlantic/Caribbean for eight years in a row in the Scuba Diving magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. It was designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as having the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean (January 2008), and as the Favorite Dive Destination in the World by About.com (June, 2008)
2009 brings the Celebration of the Parks to Bonaire, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Washington-Slagbaai National Park and the 30th Anniversary of the Bonaire National Marine Park. There will be a variety of festivities and events throughout the year, celebrating these combined years of nature protection for the island.
For more information on Bonaire contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 1-800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire’s official website at www.tourismbonaire.com. Follow Bonaire on Twitter and Facebook