The Caribbean island of Barbados is rolling out a programme to further reduce electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Inter Press Service News Agency, Barbados aims to save up to 3 million dollars in electricity bills annually, with its $24.6 million Public Sector Smart Energy Programme (PSPP).
The PSPP is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU).
The programme includes the replacement of close to 30,000 street lights across the country.
“So, this project will save us a couple million dollars a year, [up to] 3 million a year. It is a small amount in the context of Barbados but it is a start to save some money,” Minister with responsibility for Energy Darcy Boyce said, while explaining that based on a 2009 study, government is aiming for a 29 percent per year reduction in electricity consumption through various methods of renewable energy use and energy efficiency.
“When that is combined with the work to retrofit 13 government buildings with solar photovoltaic, it begins to add up.”
Increasing renewable energy generation
Wind, solar and other renewable energy sources steadily increasing their share in energy consumption across the Caribbean, says the Inter Press Service News Agency.
The News Agency notes that in December 2013, Barbados passed the Electric Light and Power Act (ELPA) in parliament and later amended it in April 2015. It replaced the original 116-year-old Electric Light and Power Act which was passed in 1899.
The ELPA revised the law relating to the supply and use of electricity and promotes the generation of electricity from sources of renewable energy, to enhance the security and reliability of the supply of electricity and to provide for related matters.
A key aim of the government in passing the Act was reducing the Bds$800 million fuel import bill (50 percent of which is used to generate electricity). It also intended to promote the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources and allows independent power producers to supply electricity in addition to the Barbados Light and Power Company (BL&P).
“The Light & Power has reached to a wonderful point where they are committing to have 100 percent renewable energy within 30 years. I pressed them and I wanted them there by 2035 but they say no, 2045 and I will live with 2045,” Boyce said.
“And that I think is really a very good commitment to the country’s economy because when we reduce the use of fossil fuels, when we reduce the importation of fossil fuels whether it is by efficiency gains or it is by renewable energy, we reduce the amount of foreign exchange that we use.”