Voiture ÈlectriqueSome of the island’s leading strategic stakeholders in the renewable energy sector are visualising a possible take off for electric vehicles here by 2014.

This emerged during a news conference by the Barbados Renewable Energy Association this morning at the offices of the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries, Pine Plantation, St. Michael.

A panel of experts in the field, including Executive Director of BREA, Clyde Griffith, agreed that electric vehicles were not something futuristic, but were happening now. In fact, they noted that one of the local leading garages was selling an electric vehicle.

Griffith also disclosed that one of the members of the association had recently imported a number of similar vehicles. Director of Williams Evergreen, Andre Gibson, said electric vehicles would be the next big import, adding the technology existed in Barbados and was evolving rapidly.

He was of the view that the future in renewable energy was bright, but that there was need to remove all the “roadblocks”. He revealed there were now about a dozen electric vehicles in the island.

Chief Innovation Officer at Innogen Technolgies Incorporated, Mark Hill, said that within two years the price of energy storage devices would drop.

“We foresee the domestic environment being able to have security — energy security at home. So like hurricane season now, with storage, you are producing and storing your energy for use,” Hill added.

“In a small island developing state like Barbados, we have to have storage in place, that can get us ramp back up immediately, that can get our business models cranking, and at the same time the storage reduce the necessity for fossil fuel,” he suggested. He argued that storage was the backbone of the sector. He said technology was now making it possible to decentralise access to renewable energy sources. Hill urged Barbadians to embrace renewable energy, pointing out that storage of energy was safe, and that the fears being created in some quarters were simply “red herrings”.

He argued that cells phones and their towers stored energy and they had not caused any environmental challenges for the island.

Public Relations Officer of BREA, Aidan Rogers, told reporters there were about 114,000 private vehicles in Barbados and if electric generated ones were fully introduced, they could result account for about one per cent of the Barbados Light & Power Company’s annual sales.

Griffith said the average cost of the electric vehicles brought in by one of its members was about $55,000. He also revealed that study was about to be conducted into public

interests in such vehicles. Today’s news conference was called to launched the

association’s Road Show and its 18-month action plan for the renewable energy industry. The road show and plan are

intended to demonstrate to all citizens and foreign investors, the strategic role to be played by them in successfully shaping the island’s quest for energy independence. Details of the show and action plan are expected shortly. (EJ)

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