Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn (centre) in discussion with participants at BNSI’s ISO Regional Workshop on Energy Management and ISO 50001, held at the Savannah Hotel today.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)

Energy management and making the most of existing assets will be the topic for discussion over the next three days, during the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Regional Workshop on Energy Management and ISO 50001.

It is being hosted by the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and officially opened this morning at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, asserted that energy does not only incur economic costs for an organisation, but environmental and societal costs as well, by depleting resources and contributing to problems such as climate change.

"Individual organisations cannot control energy prices, government policies or the global economy, but they can improve the way they manage their energy inputs.?? Improved energy performance can provide immediate benefits for an organisation by maximising the use of its energy sources and energy-related assets, thus reducing both energy cost and consumption," he said, adding that ISO 50001 was an internationally recognised standard, which had been designed to suit the needs of any organisation, "irrespective of its size or activities".

He also observed that the standard followed the Plan-Do-Check-Act process for continual improvement of the energy management system, thereby allowing the organisation to make appropriate adjustments and improvements to keep the system relevant".??

Speaking in relation to the ongoing projects being undertaken by government to improve energy efficiency across the board, Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy, Valerie Browne, revealed that "to date, Cabinet has already approved renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and …[there is a draft] sustainable energy policy, which is still a work in progress. …We are now in the process of developing a final policy [with the help of stakeholders], which we should complete within the next six months."

The Permanent Secretary also spoke about the $10,000,000 Energy Smart Fund, which she described as "a package of financial instruments and technical assistance to address the main market failures that prevent Barbados from adopting RE [renewable energy] and EE [energy efficiency] technologies."?? She added: " This project is specially geared towards the commercial sector, where businesses are able to procure low interest loans to execute RE and EE programmes in their businesses," she stated.

In addition, she noted there would also be a similar fund for the public sector, to provide retrofitting for government-owned buildings, with 15 buildings audited thus far.?? Individual households would also be included in energy conservation efforts, Ms. Browne pointed out, stating that this sustainable energy pilot project would include the installation of 25 RE systems in residences and the distribution of 15,000 energy saving lights.

This, she said, would contribute to the holistic approach to creating a new, energy mix in Barbados, where it is expected that in 20 years, "RE generation should account for 29 per cent of energy consumption".??

The Permanent Secretary remarked that savings made at the individual and business levels would manifest into savings at the national level.?? She observed: "The audits mentioned earlier, according to our analysis, have the potential of reducing electricity use by an average of 30 per cent…the savings accrued to the government and the taxpayer will be quite significant."

The workshop features representatives from CARIFORUM countries, including Guyana and Suriname, and international participants from Austria and Ireland.?? The event is one of the activities within the framework of the ISO Action Plan for developing countries 2011-2015, with specific regard to Output Three on improving awareness on the role, benefits and use of international standards.


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