|Let’s shake on it: Chairman of EGFL, Terrence Thornhill and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy, Cora Richards, shake hands after signing the management agreement to bring the Smart Energy Fund into effect. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Government is committed to reducing the island’s dependence on fossil fuels by 70 per cent over the next 15 years and this will be made possible with the implementation of the Smart Energy Fund.??
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, made this disclosure today, during the signing ceremony for the US $10 million Smart Energy Fund between the Division of Energy and the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited (EGFL) at Government headquarters.
He said the fund was broken down into components with the largest being US $6 million, for loans disbursal through EGFL, to assist small businesses and homeowners with energy efficiency projects.
Senator Boyce added: "The Smart Energy Fund is the first step.?? It is a pilot fund which we hope to use to test the concept and once we are happy that it will work well, we will want to expand that fund into a much larger commercial size fund for businesses and householders."
Regarding the energy consumption habits of householders, he intimated that government was aiming to get 3 000 households per year utilising renewable energy sources.??
He also urged the commercial sector to see the benefits of utilising alternative energy to power their respective businesses.
"To be able to sustain that, we have already begun the search for funding, to ensure we can put that in place as soon as we have proven this concept with the Smart Energy Pilot Fund… and as soon as the Barbados Light and Power [Co. Ltd] has proven the scheme which they have with the Fair Trading Commission for renewable energy," Senator Boyce emphasised.
He said the Smart Fund’s components also facilitated the replacement of old air conditioning units, incandescent bulbs and other types of lighting to promote energy efficiency habits among consumers.
Meanwhile, Chairman of EGFL, Terrence Thornhill, expressed delight that the company was selected as the executing agency for this initiative. "We have, over the past couple of years, ably demonstrated our capacity to disburse in a timely manner, funds apportioned to us by Government. The Smart Energy Fund is one that has certain technical challenges associated with it.?? However, we have managed funds that have had other challenges and we have managed them well. So, we are looking forward to the challenge of executing this particular fund.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy, Cora Richards, praised the partnership between EGFL and Government; while the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Simmons, spoke of the ground-work already done to facilitate the fund’s components.
"We did a lot of work over the past eight months in preparing an operating guide to set the framework for the implementation of the fund.?? Of the five components, three are ready for implementation.?? For instance, the technical assistance component for energy audit is ready to be rolled out, the hire purchase pilot scheme for consumers to purchase energy efficient appliances and the loan component for the small and medium-sized enterprises sector is also ready," Mr. Simmons surmised.
Regarding the compact fluorescent and air condition unit schemes, the CEO said these will be on hold until a policy was devised to oversee the disposal of the harmful effects of fluorescents and the ozone depleting gasses contained in defective air condition units.??
Mr. Simmons said that policy was being worked on by officials within the Division of Energy and would be rolled out shortly.