WEB Aruba ‘Sunrise Solar Park’ Project Ground Breaking Monumental for Caribbean Clean Energy Transition
Sir Richard Branson and José María Figueres present as surprise special guests.
The Islands Energy Program has partnered with the Government of Aruba and WEB Aruba since 2013.
Oranjestad – Aruba: The solar park site was handed over to WEB Aruba last week, following the contract signing of a 5.9 megawatt solar project with partner ISOTRON, and the official groundbreaking of the Sunrise Solar Park occurred this morning at Lago Heights, San Nicolas.
Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman, Minister of Tourism, Transport, Energy and Environment, Mike de Meza, Director of Utilities Aruba, Franklin Hoevertsz, Ad interim C.E.O. of WEB Aruba, Richard Frank, Director of Elmar, Robert Henriquez, Governor of Aruba, Fredis Refunjol, President of the Board of Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, José María Figueres and Sir Richard Branson were among the distinguished guests who attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
At the contract signing, Prime Minister Eman stated, “Aruba has proven the world that, although we are limited in size, we can have big dreams and important goals. Maybe we inherited an arid soil, but we are blessed with an abundance of sun and wind to turn that into energy and well being for our society. We have translated those gifts into a vision to make our island totally sustainable by 2020.”
In 2009, the government of Aruba introduced a new strategy for its utility services, prioritizing the inevitable environmental concerns of the small island and moving away from reliance on the oil market. This approach was crystallized in the 2020 sustainable energy target, announced at the Rio+20 conference in 2012, its flagship policy aim. The initiation of this first solar park project in San Nicolas is a big achievement for Aruba and WEB Aruba, as they demonstrate their efforts to reach their sustainable goal and vision of a greener, cleaner and fuel oil free operating company.
This is a significant event for WEB Aruba because of the 16 million florin investment, and the complete ownership of a project of this magnitude. The Sunrise Solar Park will be one of the biggest solar parks on the island and the Caribbean Region.
The solar project is monumental because it states the lowest price achieved for solar photovoltaic (PV) in the Caribbean to date. The main focus of the ‘Decentralized Solar Photovoltaic Integrated Project’ is to construct a ground mounted solar PV system in San Nicolas, east side of the island, with a capacity of 5.9 megawatts. In addition to contributing to a more sustainable energy mix, this project supports the government’s agenda of repurposing part of the refinery premises.
This project brings WEB Aruba closer to their goal of completing all solar energy projects that are part of the Aruba Renewable Energy Strategy (ARES) and portfolio. Francis Ras, Division Manager Technical Affairs of WEB Aruba explained that WEB Aruba’s mission is to reach an average of 5% solar energy penetration.
“We’re confident that in approximately 8 months the San Nicolas community and the entire island will exhibit a gem of a project. This groundbreaking is absolutely an historic event, for WEB, for San Nicolas and Aruba”, Mr. Ras proudly expressed at the groundbreaking ceremony. Minister Mike de Meza also stated that “The solar park is going to be something that many of our youth will look up to and also be able to carry this vision for the next generation to come”.
Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room’s (RMI-CWR) Islands Energy Program in partnership with TNO Caribbean supported the project proposal development and led the proposal dissemination process. RMI-CWR has worked in partnership with Aruba, WEB Aruba, and TNO on their renewable energy transition since 2013.
“The solar PV price point achieved is remarkable – but not surprising given the cost reductions seen in recent years for renewable technologies and the prudent development and de-risking steps WEB boldly took during the process. This is truly a milestone for the Caribbean clean energy transition,” said RMI-CWR Director Justin Locke.
TNO Caribbean Director Jan Ebbing stated, “Transatlantic collaboration within TNO enabled us to simulate and objectively compare different PV solutions and thus to help in the selection of the most cost-effective alternative.”
WEB Aruba is proud to initiate the ‘Sunrise Solar Park’ project and will continue its efforts to maintain a renewable energy leadership position in the Caribbean. WEB Aruba expresses gratitude to all its departments who have also contributed to the development of this project and also, the Government of Aruba, Utilities Aruba, Elmar, ISOTRON, Aruba Investment Bank, Brown Lawyers, Refineria di Aruba and CITGO who have played a fundamental role in making the ‘Sunrise Solar Park’ become a reality for the island of Aruba.
Aruba project guidance provided by RMI-CWR is made possible by the support of the Global Environment Facility in partnership with the United Nations Development Program.
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About WEB Aruba N.V. Water
Total water production capacity of 47.000 m3 per day, consisting of 44.000 m3 per day, seawater reverse osmosis plants and 3000 m3 per day, ION exchange plants. Average daily production of 34.000 m3 per day, while consumption is 32.000 m3 per day. Power Total installed production capacity of 256 MW, consisting of 136 MW steam turbines, 90.88 MW of Recip engines, 20 MW gas turbine. Average demand of 103.5 MW, while peak is 135 MW. With efficiency of the new SWRO units and also the Recip units, WEB Aruba manage with an investment of almost $250 M, to reduce its fuel consumption with 42%, while with the upcoming new projects (total investment 2 years of $117 M), the fuel consumption will again drop 20% more. This resulted in the reduction of 149.137.452 kg CO2 emissions in 2015, which is equivalent to 31.005 less vehicles on the road annually.
About Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. In 2014, RMI merged with Carbon War Room (CWR), whose business-led market interventions advance a low-carbon economy. The combined organization has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
About TNO Caribbean
TNO Caribbean was established in 2011at the invitation of the Government of Aruba to assist the Country Aruba in its sustainable energy transition and to help develop a regional center of expertise and new economic pillar in clean technology. TNO Caribbean is committed to help enable an efficient, reliable and sustainable transition from fossil to renewable fuels and the sustainable management of natural resources. TNO, The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, is the mother organisation of TNO Caribbean. TNO is an independent research organization founded 80 years ago. Its main objective is to bridge the gap between fundamental research and the application of knowledge at companies, governments and non-governmental organizations, in order to increase the competitiveness of companies and organizations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. TNO’s unique position is attributable to its versatility and capacity to integrate this knowledge.
ISOTRON, S.A. was established in 1989 with a view to preparing engineering projects and undertaking the manufacture, assembly, commissioning and maintenance of electrical, instrumentation, regulation and control installations. ISOTRON is a flexible company that is constantly seeking new technologies and that displays a high level of adaptability to new environments and cultures, always employing the best professionals.