The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) stands to benefit significantly from a reduction in operating costs, if Government’s target of 100 per cent renewable energy is reached by 2030, since it now spends about BDS$2.2 million per month in electricity costs.
Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, made this disclosure, as he addressed the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers Seminar ‘100 Renewables by 2030?’, at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church, on Wednesday, October 17.
“The Barbados Water Authority acknowledges the role that renewable energy must play in a reduction of their operational costs,” Minister Abrahams noted, as he cited recent statistics that show the BWA is the largest consumer of electricity on the island, using between five and eight per cent of the daily grid capacity.
The Minister noted that the BWA would not only benefit economically, but also from a sustainable viewpoint. He said: “The Belle pumping station from where we access approximately one-third of the population’s water supply presently has no sustainable backup mechanism in place for a power failure from the electrical grid… nor is there any power storage capacity that would be able to sustain operations for an extended period of time.”
Mr. Abrahams said, to address this issue, the Ministry had re-developed a project, which would be aimed at achieving water sector resilience as a nexus for sustainability.
He disclosed that initially the project was developed as a cross-cutting initiative intended to achieve both mitigation and adaptation benefits by reducing emissions from energy and power generation while at the same time increasing resilience of the sector responsible for the provision of our single most vulnerable resource on earth.
The Minister added that “this ambitious project is intended to demonstrate how mitigation actions, married to adaptation options can act as complements to address the potentially destabilizing effects that can be caused by disruption to the local water supply”.
He said the project, upon implementation, would result in a paradigm shift that would make the Barbadian society aware of the impacts of climate change, which threatens the island’s drinking water supply; create resilience to severe weather events; reduce Barbados’ greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy consumption. It would also promote appropriate uses of diverse water sources and inform the legislative agenda to support climate smart development and water sector resilience.
“It is the intention of the BWA to play its role in Government’s 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, by employing renewable energy technology by way of integrating 4.5 megawatts of photovoltaic renewable energy with back-up natural gas turbines at three different pumping stations… along with building up other critical resilience measures, such as creating a revolving adaptation funding facility, decentralising water storage, increasing rainwater harvesting and building technical capacity,” Minister Abrahams said.