Government has signed off on 39 licence applications for individuals and companies interested in pursuing renewable energy business ventures in the island’s quest to be 100 per cent fossil fuel free by 2030.
Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, made the announcement while delivering opening remarks at the Barbados Workers Union’s 79th Annual Delegates’ Conference at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, last Saturday.
The Minister told the gathering that in just over a month, he had concluded 110 licence approvals and pointed out that the sector represented a “new vista of economic opportunities in this country and for skills training”.
“It is a new vista for skills training and skills development. Because we are ahead in the Eastern Caribbean in renewable energy, it is an opportunity for our workers to be ahead by way of selling their skills and their services in the Eastern Caribbean and who will ultimately be walking this road very shortly,” he underlined.
Mr. Symmonds argued that we have to avoid past mistakes of history by not allowing workers to be “left on the wayside watching” and the sector should be seen as an opportunity for average Barbadians to be independent power producers.
The Energy Minister also used the opportunity to inform workers about the proposal submitted by the General Secretary Toni Moore, for a solar voltaic farm at Mangrove St. Philip to make the 80-year-old institution energy self-sufficient.
“…And therefore we feel that we have to go to a renewable energy platform. The Barbados Workers Union’s land at Mangrove…will be ideal for the development of a solar photovoltaic farm and through the Barbados National Oil Company have reached an agreement in principle that a partnership can take place in order for the Union to future proof itself financially so that you will be able to sell energy into the grid and earn the right to take care of your costs and ensure that you are independent financially for as long as you can exist,” he added.
The Minister congratulated the Union on its venture while touting the benefits and the reliability of the supply of energy from green sources.