Aruba was the first island we have been too since the summer hurricanes so I was curious about challenges utilities face as I was thinking about why Puerto Rico is having such a tough time recovering. BTW few people seem to realize PR's grid was in terrible shape before Maria (see this article)
Aruba gets plenty of sun but I saw only one 4 MW commercial solar park and little in residential areas. It is blessed with constant NE breezes which show in its bent over foliage which acts like a natural compass (like the iconic Fofoti trees on Eagle Beach below), but the local wind farms only generate 30 MW when they could do much more day and night. There were couple of rigs in plain sight - it is neighbor to Venezuela with some of the largest oil reserves in the world, and it has a refinery currently going through refurbishment. Based on fundamentals, Aruba should be a big energy exporter and power should be abundant.
The reality - Margaret noticed holiday lights only in the touristy parts and very little in the residential areas, even though the island is Christian and fairly religious. So we asked a local - he said electricity was very expensive. - average of $ 400 a month for 1,000 sq ft place. Citizens used most of it for air conditioning. With the breeze they could keep windows open, but the mosquitoes would be an issue.
BTW this is a common issue across the Caribbean – power is much more expensive than in the US since most have to import fossil fuel – see this article)
It hit me - the Caribbean could use a power revolution especially with wind and solar. I know PR is getting all the attention and it needs it, but the whole of the Caribbean could use some forward thinking. It is a huge opportunity for the renewables industry and hope they step up there.