The Committee established under the newly-revised Electric Light and Power Act, has recommended the award of several licences to generate electricity from renewable energy sources.

News of this came yesterday from Keisha Reid, Project Manager of the Energy Smart Fund within the Division of Energy and Telecommunications.

Ms. Reid was addressing a workshop on renewable energy and energy efficiency which brought together representatives of the agricultural sector, small businesses and cottage industries.

Speaking at the Savannah Hotel, Ms. Reid told the audience that implementing energy conservation and energy efficient policies, as well as persuading the populace to embrace more sustainable energy practices, were paramount.

She said: ???This workshop is therefore a deliberate step, in driving home the message, that the switch to energy conservation methods will ultimately see a vast reduction in energy costs for all Barbadians.???

The Project Manager stressed that this was an area ripe for investment and encouraged the private sector to place itself in a position to benefit from ???the exciting prospects in the area of energy efficiency and conservation???.

While noting that the focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency waxed and waned throughout the world, depending on the price of oil, Ms. Reid declared that Government intended to ensure that the national effort was sustained despite the current substantial decrease in the price of oil and the consequent fall in electricity and gasoline prices.

She revealed that having developed a Sustainable Energy Framework for Barbados since 2012, Government had recently convened a Task Force to undertake an intensive review of the draft National Sustainable Energy Policy. This, she said, was in view of several considerations, including the recent evaluation of the grid which showed that it could accommodate an exponential increase in energy from intermittent renewable energy sources.

The Project Manager of the Energy Smart Fund told the audience that the Fund, which was established by Government in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, was intended to promote sustainable energy and energy conservation projects within the private sector. It also aims to heighten public consciousness about sustainable energy choices.

???The expected impact of this initiative is the reduction in energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions,??? she explained. Government, she said, was seeking to lead the way since, with a public sector electricity bill estimated at $100 million annually, the public sector had every incentive to become more efficient in its use of energy. The current target is a 22 per cent decrease in national electricity usage by 2020.

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