Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is pictured as he addresses the launch of the Energy Smart Fund at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Also pictured from left to right are Project Manager, Energy Smart Fund, Keisha Reid; Manager, Caribbean Country Department Inter-American Development Bank, Gerard Johnson; Permanent Secretary Division of Energy and Telecommunications, Valerie Browne; and Chief Executive Officer Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd., Timothy Simmons (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Developing a renewable energy sector is critical to restructuring the economy and moving Barbados one step closer to attaining the goal of being a world leader in energy efficiency.

This was underlined by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he addressed the launch of the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme or Energy Smart Fund at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today.

Funding for the BDS$20 million project is being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and it is being designed in collaboration with the Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. It will provide financial and technical support to renewable energy and energy efficient projects in Barbados.

Mr. Stuart maintained that the development of the Energy Smart Fund would act as a catalyst towards making this country a "cleaner economy" as Barbados aims to be a word leader as a green economy.

He said the Fund "would not only facilitate subsidised loans for the implementation of viable renewable energy and energy efficient projects, but it will also provide grants to businesses for funding pre-investment studies, assessing the technical and financial viability of these projects.These facilities will be available to businesses within all sectors: from manufacturers to hotels, farmers and small enterprises."

In addition, the Prime Minister noted that small entrepreneurs would be able to partner with the Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. as ???Smart Fund Partners’ to provide technical expertise, by conducting energy audits and other studies necessary for businesses wishing to access the Fund.

He pointed out that other initiatives supported by the Fund would include a pilot project which would provide interest rate rebates to selected retailers that had experience in ???hire-purchase’ consumer finance schemes. He said that they would, in turn, offer better hire purchase terms to their customers to purchase renewable energy and energy efficient appliances at a subsidised cost. If the venture was successful, Mr. Stuart said, it would be expanded in the future.

"The comprehensive investment programme also includes the provision of rebates for customers wising to replace older air-conditioning models to more energy efficient and ozone depleting substance free systems as well as the distribution of energy efficient lighting to domestic consumers," he added.

Moreover, the Prime Minister noted that studies had indicated that over the next 20 years Barbados could achieve a renewable energy matrix in which renewable energy generation would account for approximately 29 per cent of electricity consumption.

He further disclosed that this week Government would be negotiating with the IDB to have a much larger Fund available within the next two years.

This venture, he noted would involve the retrofitting of several public buildings, including the use of photovoltaic and wind systems as well as energy efficient street lighting.

The Energy Smart Fund is a package of financial instruments and technical assistance that aims to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in Barbados.


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