Already known for its pristine natural surroundings, Belize’s government is taking a lead in the global fight against climate change by announcing ambitious goals for renewable energy in Belize.
The goals were set out in memorandum of understanding to join the Ten Island Challenge, a partnership initiative between Carbon War Room, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Clinton Climate Initiative, signed by the government June 2.
The renewable energy in Belize initiative focuses on projects for the exploration of potential wind energy resources and electric automobiles, the adaptation of policy and programs for sustainable mobility, the development of a partnership with Belize Electricity Limited, and examination for the potential improvement of energy efficiency in hospitals across the country.
According to Senator Joy Grant of the Belize Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, Belize aims to meet its renewable energy production target of 89% in the electricity sector by 2033.
“Achieving this milestone will also allow Belize to enhance its energy security and build its energy resiliency, while ensuring that it buffers its economy from the oil-price chocks that have debilitating impacts on small, open economies like Belize,” Grant said.
Currently, 60% of Belize’s electricity comes from local hydro and biomass resources. The remaining 40% comes from imported fossil fuel resources.
The Carbon War Room, and environmental NGO, and its Ten Islands Challenge are the brainchild of English business man and investor Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. The focus of the NGO is to focus on “the market barriers that reinforce the status quo and prevent capital from flowing to sustainable solutions with compelling returns.”
Branson takes fighting climate change seriously, and not just for moral reasons. “Climate change is one of the greatest wealth-generating opportunities of our generation,” is one of Branson’s oft-repeated maxims.
The Ten Islands Challenge has been adopted by seven other countries, including Grenada, St. Lucia, and the Bahamas.
The government has not offered comment on what the new commitments for renewable energy in Belize mean for the country’s possible lifting of its offshore oil drilling ban. A recent controversial proposal made to lift the ban would allow offshore drilling off almost all of Belize’s coast. The government is expected to complete its regulatory proposal for offshore drilling and present it to the cabinet by the end of 2015.