Chief Engineer Dagmara Avanindra just returned to Aruba fresh from being a moderator at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF). CREF 2022, the 14th annual conference, was held April 26-28, 2022, in Miami, FL. Avanindra’s extensive background in renewable energy throughout the region and Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort’s status as the Caribbean’s first and only certified carbon-neutral hotel served as a resource for Caribbean entities working to convert to clean energy.
CREF 2022 is where the policymakers, regulators, utilities, investors, developers and financiers are brought together in an environment that encourages the market to meet, originate and transact the transition to clean energy. Held in Miami, FL, more than 80 speakers participated across 25 focused and carefully developed sessions and presentations.
Avanindra moderated a session focused on the upcoming massive solar and storage microgrid, the largest in the Caribbean, located in St. Kitts. The session explored the need to satisfy clean energy and decarbonization goals while meeting the demand for baseload power.
Avanindra and the group discussed overcoming the roadblocks to renewable energy projects in the climate-vulnerable Caribbean. She shared that many renewable energy projects in the Caribbean don’t come into existence or they fail because of conservative regulations, a political atmosphere guarded against possibly making mistakes, and lack of financing.
“While Bucuti & Tara may be smaller, we faced similar obstacles in implementing renewable energy, however, our persistence led to becoming the Caribbean’s first carbon-neutral hotel and we hope that this real-life experience shared at CREF 2022 helps other developers, investors and politicians see success is attainable and dependable renewable energy is indeed possible and where we need to be in the Caribbean,” said Dagmara Avanindra, Chief Engineer, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba. “CREF 2022 provided a great forum to learn from other like-minded professionals about the challenges in developing renewable energy initiatives in the Caribbean and how to overcome them.”
Moderating and speaking about renewable energy in the Caribbean is nothing new for Avanindra. A Stanford University graduate with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering with honors, Avanindra has spent her career in the region working on clean energy. She is a member of Women In Renewable Energy (WIRE) group. WIRE is dedicated to building a network for women in the Caribbean energy sector to create more opportunities for the male-dominated field. WIRE is backed by the Clinton Climate Initiative and RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute).
Latest sustainability work
Bucuti & Tara’s presence and participation at CREF 2022 is the latest in the resort’s work to help share sustainability initiatives. Earlier in April, Owner/CEO Ewald Biemans attended the World Travel & Tourism Council’s WTTC Global Summit 2022 in Manila. Biemans was invited as both a thought leader and served as an originator and a launch signatory for the new WTTC Hotel Sustainability Basics, or The Basics. The Basics is a collection of globally-recognized basic sustainability indicators for hotels, regardless of where they are located, whether they are independent hotels like Bucuti & Tara or a large hotel collection, economy level or ultra-luxury.
Biemans’ newest sustainability article is featured this month on Hotel Executive. “Green Hotels: Overcoming the Overwhelming,” is a research piece that helps hoteliers, investors and owners help their properties journey to net-zero in the face of climate change.