BREA campaign intensifies

association focusing on raising awareness about advantages of renewable energy

A national campaign aimed at espousing the social and economic benefits of renewable energy to Barbadians, is about to become more aggressive.

Executive Director of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association, Clyde Griffith told Barbados TODAY, that with the sector showing great potential for growth at this stage, it was time now to raise the public awareness which was “so badly needed”.

Griffith recalled that in January 2011, his association met with the Government and presented a proposal to it, demonstrating how 1,200 jobs could be created in the renewable energy sector.

“Eight months later, they turned us down,” the BREA leader lamented.

He said that the first step towards raising nation-wide awareness about the significant advantages of the sector, his organisation was the hosting a forum at the University of the West Indies that examined the Barbados Light & Power Company’s renewable energy rider which the Fair Trading Commission is going to address on February 14.

“I am appealing to members of the general public, other stakeholders and members of BREA to come out and expand on the work we have done on the draft we have already prepared for the FTC,” Griffith pointed out.

He said the campaign will continue in March, when the association will stage a symposium in conjunction with the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries.

This, the energy expert informed, would be tailored to the trade sector.

“Later in the year, we are going to be having an exhibition on renewable energy products and services. We already have agreement to work with Digicel on raising the level of public awareness, particularly in schools. Our activities will require support and we will be working with the BCSI to pursue such sponsorship,” Griffith added.

The BREA executive director also told this newspaper that ever since the $10 million renewable energy Smart Fund was established in December 2011, no disbursements have been made.

“We have seen disbursements lagged. People have been applying, but nobody can get to know why money is not being disbursed. People are complaining. I have members who need help,” he asserted.

“If money had been disbursed you would have seen activity leading to employment.”

He is of the view that the solution to the problem, which is systemic, can be found outside of the civil service system.

“We need an organisation that can handle all of those problems because you need a sense of urgency. That is not forthcoming,” declared the leading energy activist.

Griffith added that BREA had offered its services to help the Government move through the process “very smoothly,” and that had been turned down.

“We suggested to whomever, that the renewable energy sector must be at the heart of restructuring of the economy. We can show how and where jobs can be created. As a former minister of energy, we demonstrated this by creating close to 200 jobs and savings of $40 million in foreign exchange in two years,” he added. (EJ)†††

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