Minister of Energy, Wilfred Abrahams, commissioning the photovoltaic system at the GAIA Engineering Department. He was joined by (l-r) Head of Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Daniela Tramacere; Managing Director, Solar Watt Systems Inc., Josh Hunte and BDF Project Manager, Major Lubin Maxwell. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Barbados is making giant steps under the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme (PSSEP) towards reaching its 2030 goal of becoming 100 per cent carbon neutral.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, discussed Government’s efforts in this regard today while addressing the commissioning of a 381kw solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Grantley Adams International Airport Engineering Department building at Seawell.

Mr. Abrahams noted that his Ministry’s staff was working assiduously to execute the National Energy Policy, which speaks to Barbados’ need to be powered 100 per cent from renewable energy (RE) sources by 2030, or, at the very least, to be carbon neutral.

He stated that the PSSEP was one of the most visible and tangible arms of work under the Ministry’s portfolio in assisting Government in achieving cost reductions in the consumption of electricity.

Emphasizing that the country was in an “energy revolution” and the need for Barbadians to change the ways in which they generate and consume energy, the Minister stated: “It is not just energy, but we in Barbados need to change the way we do everything. We need to change the way we look at things, the way we treat our country, the way not only of how we generate electricity but also the way we use it and the way we regard it… and the fact that we are moving to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 does not mean it is a license to start to waste electricity.”

Mr. Abrahams maintained the need to move towards RE was necessary not only to reduce energy consumption but to assist with resilience against climate change and its impact by reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  He highlighted the recent effects of climate change on Dominica and The Bahamas and cautioned “peril to the person who does not take it seriously”.

The 381kw solar PV ground mounted system at the GAIA Engineering Department is the largest PV system installed under the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Energy Minister also alluded to a recent United Nations report, which revealed GHG emissions are at their highest concentration ever, with scientists predicting by 2050 the world will reach an increase of 4 degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial level. 

Urging that “we need to not have our voices silenced in this fight against climate change”, Mr. Abrahams added that though he is grateful for the funding towards the PSSEP, what he really wants, “is not the handout or the step-up after we’ve been affected, I need the tangible support and the advocacy before we’re affected to stop us from being affected.

“I really hope those who are at COP25 that they don’t just fight for us but they actually understand and appreciate what they are fighting for, they’re fighting for our lives and our survival,” he maintained.

Also speaking at the commissioning was IDB Chief of Operations, Francisco Javier Urra and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Daniela Tramacere, who both expressed their commitment to continue assisting Barbados in its energy transformation.

They also congratulated the Government of Barbados on its efforts thus far towards achieving its “ambitious” 2030 goal, noting that the solar PV systems installed under the PSSEP will improve the lives of Barbadians, as well as improve Barbados’ competitiveness by having an airport that will be more reliable and self-sufficient.

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