Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, is urging Barbadians to consider investing in storage facilities and becoming independent power producers (IPPs), to fill the void which would be left when this island no longer imported fossil fuels.
He made this appeal last night while delivering an address at the launch of the Barbados Sustainable Energy Cooperative Society Limited in the Cooperators General Insurance Building, Collymore Rock, St. Michael.
Mr. Abrahams acknowledged that the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited currently has a monopoly on the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, and that the current model, which worked in the past, would not be pursued by Government going forward.
“While Light and Power owns the grid and there must be some recognition of the investment that they have made in the generational space, the Light and Power has to compete with other players in the market when you actually get running. More than that, we are now branching into recognising storage as part of the energy market.
“So, it is not simply putting up solar panels or looking to invest in windmills and turbines or waste-to-energy, something that was never contemplated before … but people can invest in a storage facility by itself and turn into an independent power producer,” Mr. Abrahams stated.
As an IPP, the Minister suggested that the producers could invest in a bank of storage cells; fill them when electricity is cheap; and then sell back the electricity when it becomes expensive.
Mr. Abrahams said this country’s entire approach to energy had to change, given the possibilities that existed to fill the space when fossil fuels were no longer being used in Barbados.
He said the expenditure spent by Government on the importation of fossil fuels could be used to pay IPPs, members of the Barbados Sustainable Energy Cooperative Society Limited and other industry players within a 100 per cent renewable energy environment.
Minister Abrahams said the importation of fossil fuels was a financial burden Government could not sustain, and in 2018, the imports stood in excess of $510 million, or five per cent of GDP.