Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and NRG Energy on Friday announced a global alliance that will see the installation of renewable energy systems at Starwood Properties worldwide.
The announcement came as leading lights from across the Caribbean and far afield met on Richard Branson’s private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) for the Caribbean Summit of Political and Business Leaders.
The Westin St. John Resort & Villas in the US Virgin Islands is one of three initial Starwood properties to be outfitted with renewable energy systems, in this instance a 1.3 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array that “will provide clean, efficient power to the resort, helping to reduce local air emissions and the impact of shipping on the fragile Caribbean ecosystem by directly reducing demand for diesel fuel imports,” according to a joint Starwood-NRG press release.
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NRG Solar, one of the largest solar power developers and owners in the US, will build, own, and operate the Westin St. John solar array. The clean, renewable electricity produced will be purchased by Starwood according to the terms of a multi-year agreement that extends across solar PV systems to be installed at several Starwood properties.
Solar PV makes good sense anywhere, but especially at island locations, the partners pointed out. Islands such as St. John rely heavily on burning imported diesel fuel in order to secure reliable sources of electricity. Installing a solar PV system not only lessens the carbon and environmental footprint of energy production drastically, it affords Starwood a cost-effective, on-site source of electricity at a stable cost, which makes budgeting and operations more efficient as well as much greener.
Starwood’s chief administrative officer and general counsel Ken Siegel couched the agreement with NRG within the hotel and resort operator’s global sustainability goals:
“At Starwood, we have established an environmental sustainability goal we call 30/20 by 20 meaning we’re committed to reducing our energy consumption by 30 percent and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020 throughout our global hotel and resort system.
“We are making great progress against those goals through a variety of programs in place around the world and we’re pleased to partner with NRG to be able to provide affordable and sustainable electricity that will benefit the environment, our guests and our business.”
Added NRG president and CEO David Crane,
“In many parts of the world, including in the United States, solar power, generated locally, is well on its way to becoming the most cost-effective, environmentally beneficial and aesthetically pleasing energy option for any customer-facing business.
“Starwood, with its 30/20 by 20 initiative and other commitments to sustainability best practices, is an acknowledged leader in this regard in the global tourism and hospitality industry. We look forward to working with Starwood on clean energy and related sustainability initiatives in order to achieve the environmental and economic goals that we share in common.”