Sustainable Energy Initiatives Launched

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Barbados is examining ways of creating sustainable energy initiatives, and to this end, Government will soon draft renewable energy and energy efficiency legislation.

This was announced by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce. He was delivering the keynote address today at the launch and Operational Planning Meeting for Sustainable Energy Initiatives, held at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.

The two-day conference was sponsored by the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and organised by the CARICOM Secretariat.

Senator Boyce, who has responsibility for Immigration, Telecommunications and Energy, said Government was committed to promoting sustainable energy practices both on the supply side, mainly using renewable energy sources, and on the demand side by encouraging energy efficiency and energy conservation measures.

He also revealed Government’s plans to phase out incandescent lamps, and to distribute over 15,000 compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and 3000 power monitors. This, he stated would be at a minimal cost to consumers and, in effect, jump start the market for these items.

The sustainable initiatives, the Minister pointed out, would also see the installation of several megawatts of solar-derived electricity from Government-owned buildings, including schools, and the preparation of a policy for improving the efficiency and sustainability of fossil fuel consumption.

??Senator Boyce disclosed that the changes were necessary to reduce the "country’s dependency on fossil fuels, enhance security and stability in energy supply, improve the country’s competitiveness, and achieve greater environmental sustainability".

He noted that as a result, a Smart Energy Fund would be implemented to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and equipment.??

Minister Boyce explained that the Fund would essentially final campaigns to develop a critical mass of users of some of the most promising technologies and it would also develop new market equilibrium in which these technologies become the norm.??

"The first set of funding has been approved by the Inter-American Development Bank and we are starting that fund with US$10 million and we expect that the loan agreement will be signed fairly soon this year," he revealed.

Minister Boyce further stated that the Barbados Government, with the help of the IDB, had recently completed a study for the preparation of a National Sustainable Energy Framework.??

He noted that this study would try to create economically viable investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, so as to reduce Barbados’ dependency on fossil fuels. In turn, he disclosed that this would lead to reduced energy costs, improved energy security and enhanced environmental sustainability.

The Energy Minister maintained that…"by promoting and implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that are economically viable, Barbados can substantially improve its energy mix in the next twenty years.?? This energy mix would be one where renewable energy generation would account for 29 per cent of electricity consumption and the remaining 71 per cent would come from conventional fossil fuel-based resources."

Senator Boyce suggested that as a result, total electricity costs would be cut by US$283.5 million and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions by 4.5 million tons. These measures, he observed would also reduce Barbados’ reliance on fossil fuels by approximately 71 per cent and would also result in "an overall 22 per cent reduction in electricity consumption based on the use of energy efficiency measures".

The regional symposium concludes tomorrow.??clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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