After slipping into a dormant state, recently fueled by falling oil prices globally, the renewable energy sector will continue to be a priority for Government going forward, says Commerce Minister, Donville Inniss.

Speaking after a meeting in which he and Energy Minister, Darcy Boyce met with key stakeholders to discuss the state of the renewable energy sector, Minister Inniss stated that coming out of the consultation they all agreed on some of the current challenges being faced.

??????The falling oil prices led to a lessening in demand for renewable energy systems here in Barbados. Also, of course related to that is how bankable are the projects to access the financing necessary for individuals and commercial enterprises here.

???So, the meeting was successful in the sense that we were able to put all the issues on the table, look at the enabling environment and what was needed including amendments to existing legislation. We also examined some of the procedures to be used in administering the industry from government???s perspective and the Ministry of Energy is dealing with those issues??????

Explaining that the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) was key to the regulatory environment that was needed, he added that one of the major outcomes was the commitment to arriving at a floored price for fuel generated by renewable energy, so as to give a greater level of certainty to the partners in the industry ??? Barbados Light & Power (BL&P), as well as those who were responsible for installing and designing systems across the board and an added impetus for individuals who wanted to invest in the systems.

???That is a matter that is already engaging the attention of Light & Power and the FTC, and we expect over the next couple of weeks that we would be very close to arriving at a final figure, a minimal figure that we can have for energy generated by renewable energy systems,??? Mr. Inniss asserted.

Implying that this did not take away from the long term solution which was being driven out of the Ministry of Energy, the Commerce Minister noted that it would look at policy and also a feed-in tariff which would inform the longer arrangement between utility and the independent power producers in Barbados.

He added that matters regarding hedging for fuel prices, fossil fuel prices, was an issue that the BL&P would work to address with stakeholders in the Ministry of Energy , the Oil Company and others.?????I think the message has to go forth that the Government continues to be very committed to the development of the renewable energy sector; however that takes form, wind energy, solar energy and whatever other alternatives there may be??????

Participants at the meeting included representatives from the Barbados Renewable Energy Association; the Fair Trading Commission; the Ministry of Energy; the Barbados Light & Power, The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

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