Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, cutting the ribbon to signal the opening of the Ministry’s Energy Expo entitled ‘The Road to 100 per cent Renewable Energy: Building a Resilient, Clean and Energy Efficient Future Together”. (S. Forde-Craigg / BGIS)

Children have been advised to see the Energy Expo as a means of seeing what roles they can play in helping Barbados achieve its goal of becoming 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2030.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams gave this encouragement recently to students attending the Ministry’s Energy Expo themed: The Road to 100 Per Cent Renewable Energy: Building a Resilient, Clean and Energy Efficient Future Together, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

 In its second year, the expo was held in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the DREAM Project.

Telling the students that “these are really exciting times”, Mr. Abrahams encouraged them to choose careers in renewable energy, stating: “We as a Government are trying to get young entrepreneurs and young students like yourselves to apply your minds to how we can tackle this problem, how we can take a gas burning car and convert that into electric and do it efficiently and reliably.

“The one of you that can get that done is going to become a multimillionaire, the person in Barbados that gets that done in a way that is sustainable and that can do it across the board is going to ‘corn’ money.”

The Minister responsible for Energy and Water Resources thanked all those involved in helping make the Expo possible and stressed that his Ministry was the most critical in securing the country’s future. “You can live without money, but you can’t live without water, you will not survive without power,” he pointed out.

Chief of Operations of the Inter-American Development Bank Barbados Country Office, Francisco Javier Urra, believed the expo was “a great effort in terms of outreach and awareness”, in providing information to the public on the renewable energy sector in Barbados.

Mr. Urra revealed: “We have a new operation that approved just one month ago the Smart Fund II with USD $30 million and a grant from the European Union of USD $15 million.  I also have the pleasure to announce that we are right now preparing a new policy-based loan in the area of sustainability, which includes climate resilience and renewable energy for USD $80 million. This will be approved in the first semester of 2020.”

The IDB representative urged students to see the IDB, the Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme as partners who are seeking to “make a better Barbados”.

“We are honoured to have the opportunity in today’s event to engage with private sector partners to learn about current and emerging trends in the energy sector,” Mr. Urra added.

In his remarks, UNDP’s Barbados and OECS Resident Representative, Magdy Martinez-Soliman, stated that public awareness events like the energy expo were a good occasion “to celebrate and disseminate state-of-the-art thought leadership” on the way forward in renewable energy.

He added given the recent power outages, the push for attaining Government’s 2030 goal was more relevant and noted one such benefit was that renewable energies were not affected by contaminated diesel or generators that break down because of toxicity.

Mr. Soliman further mentioned that the UNDP was ready to assist government in transitioning to clean energy and “will continue supporting Barbados along this sustainable pathway … [which] is not only good ecologics, but also smart economics”.

The Energy Expo comprised over 30 booths, including businesses in the renewable energy sector, financial institutions, a sustainable development goal gallery and a kids’ zone featuring face painting, a balloon station and a jumping tent.

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