Programme Manager in the Ministry of Energy and Business’ Project Execution Unit, Keisha Reid. (GP)

Government is committed to promoting sustainable energy practices as a means of reducing Barbados’ dependency on fossil fuels, and enhancing the security and stability in the energy supply.

Programme Manager in the Ministry of Energy and Business’ Project Execution Unit, Keisha Reid, reiterated this commitment as she addressed an Energy Smart Fund Webinar for business persons involved in tourism, entertainment, and the cultural and creative industries, on Thursday.

Ms. Reid told her audience: “While many renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are commercially viable, their uptake in Barbados still remains average to low, mainly due to barriers such as limited access and high cost of capital; limited and uncompetitive renewable energy and energy efficiency supply of equipment, and in some instances a general lack of information.

“It is therefore pivotal that low cost funding options and technical assistance be made available to assist small businesses, in particular micro businesses and businesses in the tourism sector, with a cushion and support to negate and traverse these unprecedented waters.”

The Programme Manager called on those in the sectors to become energy champions and be smart in their use of energy. She encouraged them to purchase energy-efficient equipment and appliances, as well as engage in energy conservation efforts, such as using less electricity.

“We are encouraging persons where possible to use renewable energy resources, as we move towards reaching our 2030 energy targets, we have less than 10 years.

“Anyone can be an energy champion, and we especially encourage companies, businesses and institutions to become energy champions. No matter the type of business or organisation – hotels, guest houses, rum shops, restaurants, attractions, tour operators, travel agencies, and even businesses in the entertainment and creative industries can be green stewards,” she stressed.

Ms. Reid pointed out that there were many ways in which businesses could be smart in their use of energy.  However, she emphasised that it starts with knowing how the business uses energy and how it can improve its energy use.

She said studies had shown that companies with energy management programmes achieved far greater savings than those without. She added that the savings go straight to the business’ bottom line, which could free up capital to do other things.

Project Officer in the Ministry of Energy and Business, Sherry Waithe, noted that energy efficient practices were extremely important to hotels and the accommodation sector, since they could provide savings of 20 per cent or more, due to the fact that among all operating costs, those of energy utilities were most controllable.

Ms. Waithe stressed that energy conservation had a direct link to everyday energy practices.  She pointed out that small changes in the tourism, accommodation and food and beverage sectors could make a huge difference.

“Quick low-cost or no-cost solutions, such as a dimming system for lights; air conditioning settings in lobbies, offices and peripheral rooms; covering the pools and hot tubs to diminish heat loss, and setting housekeeping procedures to motivate staff, will prove beneficial.  Energy management programmes should also be utilised as a tool that assist businesses in initiating, monitoring and tracking energy savings.

“Consequently, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies related to the tourism sector will generate significant returns within a short payback period. Cutting operating costs will increase the profit and allow for improved competitiveness in the tourism market,” she indicated.

In highlighting the benefits of the Energy Smart Fund, Ms. Waithe said it would help businesses reduce energy costs; improve cash flow and business efficiency and resilience, especially in cases of disaster (off-grid and hybrid photovoltaic system), and increase their competitiveness. 

The Energy Smart Fund provides funding and capacity building to businesses, to help them develop and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for greater sustainability.  

It has been re-capitalised with BDS $26.2 million by the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union, under the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Smart Fund II). The Enterprise Growth Fund Limited and FundAccess are the Fund Managers for the Energy Smart Fund.  

To begin the application process for Smart Fund II, businesses may fill out the contact form on the Smart Energy Barbados website.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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