A lack of laws

Public Relations Officer Aidan Rogers (right) and Executive Director Clyde Griffith.
Public Relations Officer Aidan Rogers (right) and Executive Director Clyde Griffith.

The Barbados Renewable Energy Association is suggesting that the absence of appropriate legislation could be retarding investment in his sector.

Public Relations Officer, Aidan Rogers, reported that the renewable energy sector presented significant opportunities for the island to finally free itself from the reliance on fossil fuels, in spite of recent suggestions implying there was a proverbial line drawn in the sand.

Rogers reasoned that such a notion limited the possibility of Barbados achieving a substantial reduction in its usage of fossil fuel for electricity generation and transportation, within five years.

“To realise these objectives, however, carefully-crafted policy initiatives and legislative and regulatory interventions akin to those introduced in tourism and international business are warranted,” added the PRO.

Rogers, an attorney-at-law, explained that these strategic interventions would create the necessary certainty required to spur investment in key areas vital to reducing domestic consumption of fossil fuels through a focus on a number of measures.

Increased energy efficiency, deployment of renewable energy technology, investment in domestic and utility scale storage facilities and the large scale introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles were necessary he said.

He said BREA was now officially starting its quest to outline a comprehensive vision for the island’s journey to energy independence.

“To facilitate this vision,” the renewable energy campaigner continued, “BREA, building upon its successful hosting of an energy efficiency seminar on February 26 this year, will be commencing its official road show in early July, as part of a national public awareness and education campaign.”

Rogers stated that in the coming months his association, with the help of its members and strategic international partners, would seek to highlight several policy initiatives and commercially viable technological options available to the Government, regulators, potential investors and the utility company.

The attorney asserted that the intention was to adopt these initiatives to assist in the rapid deployment of several projects which could significantly assist in sustainably reducing electricity rates without subsidies, while creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

Chief Innovation Officer with Innogent Technologies Incorporated, Mark Hill, who shared the same news conference as a strategic partner, was of the view that storage of renewable energy would be the backbone of the sector. Hill said the extensive use of renewable energy could even rule out the necessity for fossil fuel.

Also present was Executive Director of BREA, Clyde Griffith. Griffith expressed concern with the functioning of the Government’s Energy Division and its Electrical Inspection Department. He said he believed the operations of these two departments were part of the challenges negatively impacting on the implementation of policies and programmes for the development of the renewable energy industry.

“There are so may instances that I can mention which impact negatively on the sector. People don’t return phone calls, people don’t return letters that are over a year old. There seem to be some problem with the Smart Fund, the money that is set aside at three per cent for on-lending to practitioners in the industry…,” Griffith pointed out.

“The last thing I got only a few days ago, and it relates to something I have been saying for 25 years as it relates to this sector, is the fact that the Government’s electrical inspection [unit] has two people and some 25 applications are awaiting approval.

“This is a problem and I would encourage the Government to look seriously at addressing this situation; and indeed, addressing the situation in the Division of Energy.” (EJ)

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