The Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd.’s (BL&P) Clean Energy Bridge (CEB) Project represents another milestone for the island in its quest to reduce fuel imports and carbon emissions.
Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the BL&P’s CEB Project at the Solar Photovoltaic Plant, Trents, St. Lucy, on Friday, commended the company for its initiative to construct a plant that will offer backup, resiliency and reliability to this country’s electricity grid.
“In constructing the plant on this site at Trents, St. Lucy [BL&P] seeks to provide the island with the reserve capacity to enable its recovery from any unnatural event as we push forward the agenda to transform Barbados into a renewable energy economy,” Minister Abrahams said.
Noting that the while Government is taking steps to become 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2030, in the meantime, it is critical that action be taken to address this country’s resiliency in the event of a natural disaster.
Minister Abrahams stated: “Indeed, much work still lies ahead as Government and its stakeholders work together to develop the Integrated Resource Resilience Plan, which will outline the supply of electricity needed from the different types of renewable sources that are relevant to Barbados, in order to meet expected demand over a long-term planning horizon. Integral to this planning is the vital component of energy storage and how it is incorporated into the grid.”
The Minister responsible for energy pointed out that changes would be made to the regulatory framework to evolve and to support the utilization of storage, and the appropriate tariff structure would also be developed to incorporate its value and cost.
He added that Government would continue to support private sector efforts to build out the renewable energy sector.
The BL&P’s 33 megawatt (MW) CEB project, with an estimated investment of over $100 million, is slated to be completed by mid-2020, as outlined by contractors for the project, Finland-based energy company Wärtsilä’s VP for the Caribbean, Rodney George.
Managing Director of Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd., Roger Blackman, explained that the “CEB 33MW medium speed diesel generation plant will consist of four engines with the first two units commencing in mid-2020, and the second two, shortly afterwards”.
Mr. Blackman added that the four engines would allow BL&P to secure reliable base load generation, while the company transitions the current generation fleet to cleaner technologies and at the same time facilitate the interconnection of renewables by other parties, customers, by over $50 million annually, based on current oil prices, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 135,000 tonnes per year.
He also noted that energy delivered from the CEB Project would contribute approximately 27.1 per cent of the annual energy requirement for Barbados, and stressed that the company is committed to the business of safely providing energy and energy services that are cost effective and reliable for Barbadians.
Also at the ground-breaking ceremony, staff of the BL&P, Minister Abrahams, Member of Parliament for St. Lucy, Peter Phillips, and centenarian Lescar Carrington, planted 10 of 200 Pride of Barbados trees on the Trents, St. Lucy property, in support of the ‘We Plantin’ More Than A Million Trees’ Project.