Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell (second from right) speaking about the importance of alternative energy sources while from left Project Manager with the Solid?? Waste Project Unit, Ricardo Marshall, Communications Officer with the Central Bank and seminar co-ordinator Neville Pollard and Senior Technical Officer??in the Division of Energy, William Hinds, listen in.??

Government is negotiating a $10 million loan arrangement with the Inter-American Development bank (IDB) to finance a Smart Energy Fund, to speed up the implementation of green initiatives.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Patrick Todd, made this disclosure today while addressing the ground breaking ceremony of BICO Limited’s operations at its Harbour Road, St. Michael location.

Underscoring the benefits of alternative energy, the Minister said the five-component Fund, would not only reduce energy costs, but also improve energy security and enhance the island’s environmental sustainability.??????????????

Mr. Todd alluded to the provision of revolving loans to the tune of US$0.5 million under a Pilot Consumer Facility; grants totalling US $0.5 million under a Compact Fluorescent Lamps promotion and a US 1.5 million Air Conditioner Rebate Trade-In Programme, as initiatives that would encourage householders and businesses to "buy and install economically viable energy efficient and renewable energy technologies solutions".

He also pointed out that consumers would benefit from a US $6.5 million Energy Efficiency Retrofit and Renewable Energy Finance Facility among other assistance.

In addition householders and businesses will be eligible for financial assistance to retrofit their properties. "The fund would establish loans with low interest rates to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses in the industrial and commercial sectors, including hotels, can benefit from the available financial aid," Mr. Todd added.

The Minister of State also noted that the there is provision under the Smart Energy Fund’s?? Consumer Finance Facility, to provide retailers with low interest rates for the purchase of energy efficient equipment under a reduced rate hire-purchase scheme.

Mr. Todd lauded BICO Limited for incorporating alternative energy sources into its operations and added: "A successful new ice cream factory must reduce the energy costs of its overall operations to comparable levels with regional and international manufacturers."??

The ice cream factory which was destroyed by fire last August, will be replaced with an ultra-modern ice cream factory by March 2011. jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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