This island nation is making the fastest-ever shift to renewables

This island nation is making the fastest-ever shift to renewables

Like most islands, Palau, a Pacific island nation that bills itself as a pristine paradise, currently relies on diesel fuel to supply almost all of its electricity. It’s both polluting and expensive; residents pay more than twice as much per kilowatt-hour than an average American, even though someone earning minimum wage there only makes around $5,000 a year.

But Palau is in the middle of a new experiment: Over the next year and a half, the country will shift to 100% renewable energy, at no cost to the government, in what is likely to be the fastest national transition to renewable energy ever to occur. In a new program, the partners behind the work in Palau plan to now help other small island nations do the same thing.

Technology is helping drive Palau’s transition. When the country’s president happened to meet the CEO of Gridmarket–an analytics company that originally spun out of a public-private partnership in New York City after Hurricane Sandy–at a large environmental tech conference called EarthX in 2017, the two realized that they could work together. Gridmarket’s predictive analytics and mapping platform uses AI to analyze a city or region property-by-property, create a strategic plan for renewable energy, and then creates a digital marketplace for solar panel manufacturers and other solution providers to bid on the job.

Source: Fast Company

Date: August 2018

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