The key objective of the Barbados Sustainable Energy Conference themed: Roadmap to 2030 is to implement Barbados’ National Energy Policy 2019-2030.
This was outlined by the Permanent Secretary Special Assignments in the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Andrew Gittens, as he delivered opening remarks at the conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort yesterday.
Mr. Gittens noted the conference was intended to expose key stakeholders to recent developments in the energy sector at the international level and the Barbados National Energy Policy 2019-2030 was formulated “to provide a framework for the development of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy”.
The principal objective, he noted, was the transformation of Barbados’ economy from one based on fossil fuels to a 100 per cent renewable energy and carbon neutral island state by 2030.
The Permanent Secretary added that the hosting of the conference was both timely and relevant given the significant benefits that would accrue to Barbados by pursuing a policy to develop the economy largely on indigenous renewable energy sources.
“Transitioning the economy to one based on renewable energy has numerous benefits, including energy security, foreign exchange savings, reduced air pollution and opportunities for increased economic enfranchisement of the average Barbadian,” he listed.
Mr. Gittens acknowledged the invaluable contribution of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in assisting with hosting the conference and its continued support over the years in helping the Ministry achieve its mandate of developing an efficient energy sector.
In his address, IDB Country Representative to Barbados, Juan Carlos De La Hoz Viñas, stated: “Supporting our member countries in building resilience against the impacts of climate change has become a major focus of the IDB … and an important aspect of improving climate resilience is the sustainable development of renewable energy sources and the promotion of energy efficiency and energy conservation.”
The IDB Representative noted that his organization has been a key partner in working with the Ministry of Energy in unlocking investments and changing legislation.
“We have mobilized more than USD $200 million, that have reduced the reliance on imported fossil fuels and the subsequent economic vulnerability caused by the high and volatile cost of fuel imports,” he noted.
Mr. De La Hoz Viñas revealed that the IDB is in the process of implementing with the Ministry two investment loans promoting renewable energy and the retrofitting of public buildings that will bring cost reductions to Government’s electricity bill.
He also disclosed that two weeks ago, the IDB Board approved a USD $45 million programme for the Sustainable Energy Investment Program (Smart Fund II), which is co-financed by the European Union.
At a recent IDB board meeting the IDB representative to Barbados highlighted that representatives from the 46 member countries of the IDB acknowledged and commended the forward-looking vision of the Barbados 2030 energy goals.
The official noted that for 60 years, the IDB has been supporting member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to take bold, decisive actions to propel their economies and people towards greater prosperity and the Bank was renewing its commitment to supporting Barbados in making its 2030 vision a reality.