Green Aruba 2015 welcomed representatives from 42 nations as it looked to set goals for the island’s sustainability. Utilities Aruba is also working with the government to explore proven technologies in farming wind and other renewable energy sources.

The sixth edition of the annual Green Aruba conference, in combination with the first Aruba Learning Event, provided an ample platform for interesting discussions and goal setting for small island developing states (SIDS) towards smarter, cleaner and a more sustainable future in regard to electricity and potable water production.

The 2015 theme ‘Share Sustainability’ came with the invitation for participants to exchange experiences and knowledge, and to discuss the ‘Aruba Case’.

With the expansion of wind energy application to double the current capacity with the installation of a second windfarm in Urirama, consisting of eight wind turbines, by the end of 2017 Aruba will begin the journey towards the ‘next 50%’ of the island’s vision for 100%fossil fuel independence by 2020.

A busy affair
Green Aruba 2015 enjoyed the participation of over 400 delegates from 42 countries, including government leaders from Tortola, St Kitts and Grand Turk; eight United Nations ambassadors; legislators; utilities companies management; sustainable energy technology companies; and individuals interested in the latest developments and opportunities in the industry.

The conference was privileged to have messages to the audience from United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon as well as former US President Bill Clinton.

Organisers were honoured as well to welcome Organization of American States secretary-general Luis Almagro and chairman and chief executive officer Egbert Perry for, respectively, opening and closing keynote addresses.

Green Aruba serves as a podium for planning and showcasing Aruba’s progress, and it is the conference and island’s role as motivator and catalyser for others SIDS to join in the efforts and contributions towards increased nature preservation and a more sustainable world from that very first event in 2010, that organisers are most proud of.

Find the right balance
As Aruba continuously seeks the best balance between investment, finances, integration and results, Green Aruba 2015, supported by Carbon War Room and Rocky Mountains Institute, in support of the island’s mission, featured sessions and panel discussions based on regional practical examples and the results from Aruba’s integration study, among others.

Aruba has already taken bold decisions and actions towards the 2020 goal. Utilities Aruba, including its subsidiaries W.E.B. Aruba N.V. and N.V. ELMAR, is working together with the government in creating opportunities, and exploring new and proven technologies in the farming of solar, wind and hydro energy, as well as energy storage, including the acquisition of a custom-made flywheel.

In addition to working on the exploitation of sustainable sources and resources, the island’s utilities companies also seek to contribute in other ways towards lowering the island’s carbon footprint and contribute to the cleanliness of the island, through among others a fuel and purchase contract with a local recycling plant for refuse gasification.

Other initiatives supporting Aruba’s journey, besides the airport solar panel park (2015) and Vader Piet Wind Farm (2010), include the installation of solar panels on schools and government-owned buildings.

Albeit small scale, but nevertheless a good contribution in reducing fossil fuel use overall and encouraging a change of mindset in the community, is the effect of government encouragement resulting in a growing number of homes and private businesses adopting energy-saving equipment and investments in on-the-grid solar panel installations.

In sharing expertise and experiences among participants from different countries, dedicated government and private entities, utility and other specialised companies, the smaller countries that share common challenges will learn from each other and be able to move forward together.