Residents of Saona Island celebrate their first Christmas with 100% renewable energy
- The Compañía de Electricidad de Bayahibe turns on the 100% renewable energy plant that will change the lives of the more than 600 residents of Saona.
- Isla Saona thus becomes the first and only island in the hemisphere that has 100% renewable energy.
Saona Island, Dominican Republic, January 3, 2023. More than 600 residents of Saona Island, in the Dominican Republic, who lived until now in complete darkness and without drinking water, can now enjoy their first Christmas with a completely reliable and environmentally friendly 24/7 electricity service, thanks to the Compañía de Electricidad de Bayahibe (CEB), who installed the first 100% renewable energy plant.
More than one hundred residents of Saona and the representatives of CEB attended the inaugural powering of the energy system that will improve the quality of life and the economy in the 110 km2 area that make up this island and which receives a flow of more than 1 million tourists a year. Isla Saona thus becomes the first and only island in the hemisphere with a 100% renewable energy supply.
The system is made up of a structure of photovoltaic modules that store energy in sophisticated batteries and provide a reliable and continuous electrical service. These are state-of-the-art modules with an initial storage capacity of 5 MWh that could be expanded depending on the economic and social development of the community.
Rolando González Bunster, president and CEO of InterEnergy Group, CEPM’s and CEB’s parent company, explains that the company could replicate this exemplary and reliable energy model to other areas of the Dominican Republic and other islands in the world to promote the development of clean technology. “We want Saona to be the flagship for the development of other similar projects throughout the country,” he stated. Likewise, González Bunster highlights the positive impact that clean energy will provide to Saona as a first step to contribute to a more sustainable development in this key area for the environment and tourism in the country, which will be accompanied by accessibility to pure drinking water, electric mobility, as well as maintenance of cold storage equipment so important for fishing industry in the area, among many other benefits.
The project, located in Mano Juan, has the unanimous support of the community. The president of Asociación ProDesarrollo de la Isla Saona, Eddy Quiñones, highlights the importance of the project for the life and activity of the people who live in Saona and assures that the arrival of energy will represent a boost for the growth of the community.
Until now, for example, tourists could not stay on the island more than 4 hours due to the lack of energy. This situation will be turned around through the electrical service that arrives in a pioneering way on the island, and which will be managed through a prepaid system so that the inhabitants have greater control of their consumption.
Better quality life
“I am very happy with the CEB project. I thought that at my age I would not see this progress. Now I can watch television, turn on the fan or use the iron,” says Bienvenida Díaz, a resident of Saona since 1951. For Mercedes Rodríguez, another resident of the island, the arrival of energy will help her soap-making business by being able to use the electric grinder which she lacked before. “With machines, everything is easier. Now I will start what I had always dreamed of”, she assures.
The project developed by CEB includes the creation of an intelligent network of modules in different points of Saona’s inhabitable parts along with the correction and improvement of the electrical infrastructure of more than 120 houses, businesses, and commercial premises in Saona. In addition, it includes the restructuring of the infrastructure power supply for the school and the polyclinic, which will have free energy for better operation.
CEB’s commitment in Saona goes beyond the technical projects and this year it has also moved to the social sphere. Recently, during a special activity, González Bunster delivered electric stoves and toys to families on the island so that they can cook without the need for propane tanks and children can play with their loved ones during these endearing Christmas and New Year holidays.