Utilities Aruba N.V. was established in 1990 with its sole shareholder being the Government of Aruba. As the holding company for WEB Aruba N.V. and N.V. Elmar, Utilities Aruba N.V. is responsible for the island's power and potable water production and distribution.
With the introduction of the government's new strategy for its utilities companies in 2009, Utilities Aruba N.V. and its subsidiaries underwent some significant changes. Before 2009, utilities used to function as the liaison between the government and the working entities, and acted mainly as a guarantor for and/or to guarantee the loans of these entities, while at present the shareholders are involved in determining the vision and/or strategy for power and water production and distribution.
The new sustainable energy vision was designed by prioritising the inevitable environmental concerns of a small island, and to move away from reliance on the fluctuations of the oil market. The island's sustainable energy target is to reach 100% sustainable power production by 2020.
Utilities Aruba N.V. and its subsidiaries' main concern is setting up and providing the right framework for the investments and transition to be well balanced, and thus reliable, affordable and sustainable.
Notable efficiency measures that started in 2005 with the process of power and water production, and the introduction of both wind and solar energy in the energy mix, resulted in the lowering of HFO consumption from 6,180 barrels a day to 3,664 barrels a day (2015), while this year almost 20% of renewable penetration has been reached.
By 2018 the island of Aruba aims to reach 50% penetration, with a second wind farm (26.4MW), more solar systems (6MW), as well as converting waste to energy (gas), while a flywheel (5MW) will also become operational. Besides the supply side, the demand side is also being targeted, with efficiency awareness programmes and/or more incentives for renewable projects.
In 2015 local utilities, together with renowned foreign organizations including Carbon War Room-Rocky Mountain Institute (CWR-RMI), Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Brattle Group, started the Aruba Resources Integration Study (ARIS), a "deep dive" into the next 50% renewable energy penetration. The ARIS will provide models that map out the road forward towards Aruba's ambitious renewable energy goals, while maintaining grid reliability and minimising overall system costs. The study can serve as a prototype or starting point for fellow island nations. This "deep dive" will include new business models, base load as well as intermittent renewable energy sources, storage possibilities, time-of-use tariffs for load shifting and shedding, while a smart grid is also under consideration.