Richard Branson's Renewable Playground for the Rich and Famous

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Billionaire Richard Branson's Necker Island for the rich and famous will go 75% renewable energy, with solar, wind, and smart-technology energy storage in a massive new project dubbed "Demo Island."

The project is being led by NRG Energy and Branson's Virgin Limited Edition luxury resort group, and is called "Demo Island" because it intends to be the first example of breaking the dependency of expensive, luxurious Caribbean islands on fossil fuels, particularly diesel.

The Caribbean region has vast renewable resources but very low energy security and currently gets most all of its energy from plants burning imported oil and diesel.

The project is the brainchild of Branson's "Carbon War Room," which in working on the "Ten Island Challenge," of which Necker Island is only the first target.  

"While small compared to island nations, Necker is an ideal 'guinea pig' for the Carbon War Room's Ten Island Challenge and will be able to show the potential of 'state-of-the-art' technologies in renewable energy," Branson said in a statement.

According to NRG CEO David Crane, "retail electricity prices in the Caribbean are among the highest in the world, hindering economic development, job creation, and quality of life."

NRG will deliver a "renewables-driven micro-grid" to Necker Island, a small island of only 74 acres in the British Virgin Islands. The entire island can be rented out for a whopping $60,000 per night.

No specific details on the new micro-grid have been released yet.

On Feb. 4, the Necker Island "eco-resort" played host to a three-day renewable energy summit for Caribbean politicians and renewable-power experts. Political delegations from 13 countries and territories attended.

"We're hoping to get a number of islands to sign up to get as carbon-neutral as they can over the next few years," Branson told the Associated Press in a phone interview from Necker.

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