For the past 40 years we have built our villas with sustainability and resiliency as top of mind. And for us, this has become very personal. We at White Bay Villas have a deep commitment to sustainability. We don’t stop at our property lines with these efforts, but consider the earth and humanity in everything we do, every step we take, every swallow of food or water, and every breath we inhale. We want our guests to thoroughly enjoy their vacations and want them to feel good knowing that they will have minimal impact on the environment. We believe that sustainable and resilient practices that are done right, should be visible to guests who want to see them, but not intrusive. Over the next series of posts, we want to explain the things we are doing from a "green" lens and translate what this means to WBV, to you, and to the planet.
When we first set our roots in Jost Van Dyke, we immediately understood the importance of protecting the fragility of the island environment. The love of nature and the environment is in our DNA. We don’t take for granted that humans and governments will take enough appropriate actions to slow, and hopefully reverse, the impacts of our warming planet and the ensuing destructive weather impacts. We want to do our part and much more. We want our carbon footprint to be zero, and we are well on our way towards achieving that goal, but with island style.
You See A Sunny Vacation, We See Renewable Electricity
At WBV, we are committed to use as much renewable carbon-free energy, such as rooftop solar PV (photovoltaic), as possible. It is taking longer than we want to achieve this though unfortunately. The BVI Electricity Corporation has limited our ability to transport electricity produced by our panels across their lines. But because of this, we have plans to install batteries to store excess renewable power we produce. We already have 18 kilowatts of rooftop solar PV installed and plan to install much more over the next 5 years. We are also planning to fix the problem head on with the electricity corporations here as well, taking the steps to plan ahead and develop projects that allow our energy production to be used more efficiently and to its full extent.
Electricity provided by the government-owned BVI Electricity Corporation is produced by burning fossil fuels such as diesel and LNG. Electricity costs are upwards of 40 cents per kWh all-in depending on fuel surcharges. And it’s made with carbon-heavy polluting emissions. We want to reduce our dependence on this electricity as much as possible. Our goal is to ultimately become self-sufficient by using our own renewable energy electricity that we produce on-site.
As we say on the islands, “Sh__ Happens”, no one likes it when the power goes out. So, as a resiliency measure, WBV has three large emergency generators to provide backup power during outages that supply all the Villas and the Beach Club. In all, we have 200 kilowatts of backup power, but with the appropriate measures and grids in place, our coverage will be increased tenfold so our guests can relax and enjoy their vacation, even if the power does happen to go out in other areas.
Further, we plan to store any excess electricity that we produce (when supply exceeds demand) into storage devices such as Lithium-Ion batteries, making extra ice, and by making fresh water by desalinating ocean water which is energy intensive (we'll save fresh water collection and consumption for our next topic). We also hope to be able to share this off-grid grid with our island neighbors when needed.
In addition to developing the property to become more energy efficient, we currently have two all-electric Nissan Leaf EVs, the only electric vehicles on Jost van Dyke and plan to add more all-electric vehicles, trucks, and carts - for staff use and guest transportation. We have two other EVs at our sister properties on St. Thomas, USVI - another location where we plan to increase our operations in sustainability and resiliency.