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Islands Energy Program

Partnering to accelerate island economies energy transition from fossil fuels to a diverse platform of distributed, resilient renewable energy – creating a cleaner and healthier future for all.

Islands: Build Back Better

Islands are at the forefront of the climate crisis—both feeling its effects and pioneering solutions to build resilience.

Learn more about RMI’s work in the Caribbean, as featured on 60 Minutes.

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A Transition to Renewable Energy

Learn how our Islands Energy Program supports island partners to transition from expensive and dirty energy sources to clean, affordable, and more resilient energy systems.

What Is the Islands Energy Program?

With an independent, objective, and fact-based approach, the Islands Energy Program brings experience gained from engagements with island governments, utilities, regulators, and civil society to solve the toughest energy challenges. The program works with island partners to develop clean energy pathways to meet national goals and development objectives.

Why It Matters

Island nations possess abundant local and natural resources, such as the wind, sun, and in some cases geothermal and hydro potential, which can be harnessed to provide low-cost, clean, affordable, local energy. High electricity costs, volatile global oil prices, and a reliance on imported diesel create a clear business case for distributed renewable energy. Incorporating resilient, clean energy solutions into existing energy infrastructure benefits utilities, governments, and communities.

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What We’re Doing

Inclusive Energy Planning

We convene key stakeholders to establish a national energy vision, and develop a transition strategy to achieve that vision.

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Project and Program Advisory

We develop, de-risk, and prepare clean energy projects for market in order to attract top project developers and companies.

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Energy Leadership

We provide island energy practitioners with direct access to subject matter experts, and with a mechanism to exchange lessons and learn from each other.

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WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED

  • Facilitated the implementation of 26 projects totaling over 80 MW spread across 12 island nations that are either completed, under construction, under procurement, or plan to be tendered.
    • Including the first renewable energy projects in The Bahamas, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Anguilla, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands.
  • Worked with development partners and commercial lenders to leverage over $300 million in private and public sector clean energy investment.
  • Led the clean energy transition planning process and supported the development of roadmaps for six islands to build resilient low-carbon futures: the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, San Andrés and Providencia, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia.
  • Collaborated with the Institute for Competitiveness and Sustainable Economy for Puerto Rico (ICSE-PR) and convened over 40 energy stakeholders who provided a collaborative approach toward a vision for reforming the Puerto Rico energy system.
  • Developed a set of guidelines for policymakers, governments, utilities and insurance providers to design and construct solar PV ground mount systems to be Category 5 hurricane resistant.
  • Co-authored The Bahamas renewable energy net-billing and interconnection policy and the Montserrat National Energy Policy.
  • Launched an online knowledge exchange community for island energy practitioners, which has grown to over 1,400 members and is managed by CARILEC.

Our Partners

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Partner

Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Corporation

Partner

Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Partner

New Energy Events

Partner

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States

Partner

United Nations Development Programme

Partner

Caribbean Development Bank

Partner

Inter-American Development Bank

Partner

Organization of Caribbean Utility Regulators

Partner

Resilient Power Puerto Rico

Partner

Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico

Partner

Solar and Energy Association of Puerto Rico

Partner

Puerto Rico Institute for Competitiveness and Sustainable Economy (ICSE-PR)

Partner

Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust

Partner

Puerto Rico Renewable Energy Consultants and Contractors Association (ACONER)

Partner

U.S. Department of Energy

Partner

Partner Islands

Anguilla

Partner

Antigua & Barbuda

Partner

Aruba

Partner

Bahamas

Partner

Belize

Partner

Bermuda

Partner

British Virgin Islands

Partner

Colombia (San Andrés and Providencia)

Partner

Dominica

Partner

Grenada

Partner

Guyana

Partner

Jamaica

Partner

Montserrat

Partner

Puerto Rico

Partner

Saint Lucia

Partner

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Partner

Turks and Caicos

Partner

US Virgin Islands

Partner

Our Team

Shelley Backstrom

Shelley Backstrom
Program Coordinator

kaitlyn bunker

Kaitlyn Bunker
Principal

Chris Burgess

Christopher Burgess
Projects Director

martyn forde headshot

Martyn Forde

David Gumbs
Principal

sidney jules headshot

Sidney Jules
Senior Associate

Katie Lau
Marketing Manager

owen headshot

Owen Lewis
Operations Manager

michael leibman

Michael Liebman
Manager

Justin Locke
Managing Director

Fidel Neverson

Fidel Neverson
Project Manager

Roy Torbert
Principal

Resources

The Islands Energy Program is hosting a number of RFPs and RFQs

2021

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Green Stimulus in the Caribbean, Resilient Distributed Energy Resources Can Support Job Creation and Economic Diversification

2020

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Rocky Mountain Institute and Clinton Foundation Launch New Guide for Hurricane-Resistant Rooftop Solar

2020

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Implementing Puerto Rico’s Energy Transformation

2020

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Don’t Miss RMI on 60 Minutes This Sunday!

2020

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10 Puerto Rican Schools Receive Resilient Microgrids

2019

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United Nations High-Level Political Forum Highlights the Government of Saint Lucia, the Clinton Foundation and Rocky Mountain Institute

2019

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Islands Energy Program Recognized with Global Team Leadership Award

2019

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A Locally Led Move Toward Microgrids in Puerto Rico

2019

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The British Virgin Islands Resilient National Energy Transition Strategy

2019

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Growing Risks to the Implementation of Puerto Rico’s Energy Transformation

2019

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Part One—Critical Facilities: Where Government and Utility Services Redefine Resilience – Part One

2018

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Collaborating for Puerto Rico’s Energy Transformation

2018

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Schools Stronger than Storms

2018

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Public Collaborative for Puerto Rico’s Energy Future

2018

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CARILEC Renewable Energy Community

2018

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Solar Under Storm: Designing Hurricane-Resilient PV Systems

2018

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The Islands Energy Program supports the development of over 20 projects

2018

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Mayreau Microgrid Project Kicks Off

2018

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