The Northern Mariana Islands are one of several island U.S. territories, lying three-quarters of the way from Hawai'i to the Phillippines. Like most islands, their electricity supply has been almost entirely supplied by diesel-fueled generators, at enormous cost.
So why have islanders in the Marianas – such as the residents of Saipan – been struggling to install solar and other renewable power?
The utility, Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, has raised the same objections of mainland utilities, that technical barriers inhibit the reasonable uptake of variable renewable energy. But the cooperative utility serving Kaua'i island in Hawai'i is forecasting that 50% of its daytime electric demand will be met with solar by the end of next year. And California utilities are finding solutions to many of the purported technical barriers.
The economics are ironclad: switching from imported diesel to domestic clean energy would save a bundle. The following presentation explains.