Huge Oil Import Bill A Threat To Barbados??? Competitiveness

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Managing Director of Solar Dynamics, James Husbands, explaining the benefits of solar energy to Barbados??? development to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart; the Inter-American Development Bank???s Country Representative, Joel Branski; and Chairman of the National Petroleum Corporation,Sir Harcourt Lewis. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Faced with a staggering oil importation bill to the tune of $787 million, Barbados has no choice but to press ahead with energy initiatives if it is to maintain its competitive edge.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart sounded this warning today while addressing a wide cross section of energy experts during the launch of Energy Week at Hilton Barbados.

He added: "This expenditure has undermined our competitiveness and distorted electricity rates to an unprecedented extent.?? This situation has become the greatest challenge of our time and we cannot continue business as usual," Mr. Stuart emphasised.

In light of this situation, the Prime Minister reminded the audience about government’s efforts to develop indigenous energy resources that would feed renewable energy gradually into the energy mix.

Mr. Stuart also outlined the factors that were integral to the realisation of this effort including: the intensification of efforts to maximise production of crude oil and natural gas both onshore and offshore; the diversification of the energy mix to make the use of natural gas and other non-liquid fuels more pronounced in the economy; the

island-wide introduction and maintenance of energy conservation and energy efficiency measures aimed at maximising efficiency in the use of energy; and the on-going promotion and management of policies and strategies designed to ensure that renewable energy played a more significant role in the economy.

"We must be cognisant of the reality that fossil fuels will be with us for some time.???? That is why we are seeking to develop Barbados’ offshore petroleum sector which seeks to access the benefits from the island’s potential natural resources now and in the future," he observed.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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