Government intends to take the lead in promoting energy efficiency.

This was underlined by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce. He was delivering the keynote address yesterday at the launch and Operational Planning Meeting for Sustainable Energy Initiatives, held at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael. The conference was sponsored by the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and organised by the CARICOM Secretariat.

Senator Boyce, who has responsibility for Immigration, Telecommunications and Energy, was of the view that Caribbean nations had become complacent with respect to the use of energy.

Consequently, he asserted "any effective energy efficiency programme may, therefore, have to be one in which the Government takes the lead by retrofitting its buildings and the implementation of effective public education programmes".

The Energy Minister pointed out that Government spends as much as $60 million annually on energy use in the public sector. However, he stressed that through conservation and energy efficiency efforts, a five per cent reduction in energy could lead to an annual saving of $3 million.

??"Think what will happen if we can get [a] 20 per cent reduction and get to $12 million savings a year in government’s electricity bill.?? I have no doubt that this five per cent, indeed, I have no doubt that the 10 per cent target is well within our reach.

"… We are going to focus on the retrofitting of public buildings under performance contracting schemes by energy service companies and the mandating of energy efficiency in the building code for new construction," Senator Boyce remarked.

??In terms of energy efficiency, he also mentioned the establishment of technical standards for key technologies which will be used to establish eligibility for various incentives and the development of information campaigns to promote incentives for the use of viable technologies.

The Energy Minister pointed out that the involvement of the private sector was also crucial to the overall success of the national campaign.

He stressed that they would be involved in the marketing and provision of information that will adjust the purchase of equipment towards efficient technologies supported by the requisite standards.?? These standards, he indicated, will also be used to control the importation of sub-standard equipment.

Other initiatives on the drawing board include: a two to three year pilot project by the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited for the sale of renewable energy; the promotion of renewable energy technologies that are commercially viable; and the establishment of consumer finance instruments based on low interest loans and subsidised hire purchase schemes.

Senator Boyce noted that these would be for viable commercially distributed renewable generation technologies, as well as viable energy efficiency technologies.????

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