Improving Renewable Energy Industries

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A project is under way aimed at reducing fossil fuel usage by improving the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in the region.

Speaking at the launch of the Quality in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, or R3E Project, of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) on Wednesday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, stated that it sought to expand the regional infrastructure for maintaining quality in renewable energy systems and select energy efficiency appliances.

“This project is important in order to maintain customer confidence in the industry and the installation of energy efficient and renewable energy devices, thereby facilitating us to achieve the benefit of the reduction in fossil fuel usage and foreign exchange that we now spend to import those fossil fuels,” he explained.

While the Minister noted that the region was not a large producer of such emissions, he acknowledged that it still had a moral duty to maintain and continue the improvements made in reducing greenhouse gases and other emissions into the atmosphere.

Senator Boyce further explained that the project would be beneficial to the island’s renewable energy industry because while progress had been made over the past five years, there was still “a long way to go and a great deal of potential that we still have to exploit”.

“For example, even here in Barbados, where we have what is considered a very high penetration of solar water heating systems, I feel that we can go further, that we can devise the ways to … increase the number of solar water heating systems installed in more of our homes and commercial establishments. I feel that we can move from around 35,000 homes with solar water heaters to maybe 50,000 homes,” he suggested.

Mr. Boyce added that the island should also aim for this level of penetration with solar photo voltaic (PV) and micro wind systems in households.

“Think what the impact could be on our economies if we could, over the next 15 years, install between 2,000 and 2,500 solar PV systems on the roofs of houses in Barbados. Think of the impact that would have in maintaining and even increasing jobs for the assemblers and installers of those systems. Think also of the impact that would have on the generation of electricity in our country…,” he remarked.

The Minister also disclosed that discussions were under way with the relevant institutions about how these programmes could eventually be implemented and financed.

Senator Boyce congratulated CROSQ and its partners – the Dominican Institute for Quality and the German National Metrology Institute – for initiating the project, and also expressed his appreciation to the Government of Germany for funding the venture.

deirdre.gittens@barbados.gov.bb

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