Barbadians are now on course to have renewable sources provide over 29 per cent of their energy needs by the year 2020.

This prediction came recently from Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she delivered remarks at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd (BL&P)10 Megawatt Solar Plant in Trents, St. Lucy.

???For our entire 49 years as an independent nation, we have been the price takers of energy from international sources… It is therefore time that we embrace a new vision that will see us gradually reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and embrace a paradigm shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency,??? Dr. Byer Suckoo charged.

According to the Senator, the benefits of the plant include annual reductions of $11 million in fuel costs, resulting in a reduction of 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere; and the reduction of foreign exchange requirements to purchase fuel.

The BL&P plant is also expected to invest in smart grid technologies to permit better integration of energy from alternative sources into the grid.??The Minister also mentioned plans by Government to invest in renewable energy ???by using its vast real estate of roofs to become mini-generating plants???.

???Already, 20 public buildings have been equipped with solar photovoltaic panels and, next year, work is expected to commence on the installation of solar electricity systems on over 40 public buildings within the context of another internationally-funded programme,??? she pointed out.

The BL&P 10 megawatt solar photovoltaic farm is projected to produce nearly 200 megawatt-hours, which represented 2.2 per cent of Barbados??? annual electricity requirement in 2014.

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