Government signs agreement to help cut high electricity costs
Government is on the verge of saving millions of dollars in electricity costs while the private sector will have access to more than US$17 million in investment for renewable energy projects.
It is being made possible as a result of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) solar photovoltaic-funded project.
Chief Energy Conservation Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, William Hinds, said that under a deal signed this morning at the Barbados Hilton Resort, the UNDP and the GEF will be advising Government on the issuing of licences to entities to produce renewable for the national grid to ensure it is done correctly.
He also said the UN agency would guide Government on how much renewable energy the Barbados Light & Power Company grid can absorb without there being a negative impact on the power company.
“As a result of the efforts of the Barbados Government and the technical assistance coming from the United Nations within this project, it will empower us to advise the minister and he would then likely issue licences that can leverage up to US$17 million or more by the private sector in actually installing their grid connect renewable energy systems,”
Hinds told Barbados TODAY the Electric Light & Power Act regulations which will open the way for the issuing of licences to renewable energy producers to start selling to the grid, should be in place between July and August this year.
“There has been an excellent response [by entities] expressing an interest in applying for licences. I would say that so far the interest expressed accounts for about 20 megawatts of [renewable] energy. We are targeting 80 megawatts over the next 18 years, but we expect to achieve that easily with four years,” disclosed the chief energy conservation officer.
Today also marked the launch of Government’s solar electricity programme which will result in the installation of photovoltaic systems at 10 primary and secondary schools and at parks and beaches facilities operated by the National Conservation Commission (NCC).
The project entails having solar electricty at facilities from as far north as River Bay, St Lucy to Silver Sands, Christ Church.
Hinds said that apart from the solar electric roof system which was switched on at the nearby Pebbles Beach after the signing ceremony, there would be others going into operation at Bay Shore, Bay Steet, Three Houses, St Philip and the board walk area at Speightstown, St Peter.
General Manager of the NCC Keith Neblett said the savings from installing the solar panels to power its ten facilities, could exceed $40,000 a year and Minister of Education Ronald Jones explained that his ministry’s $4 million expenditure on electricity per year, would be significantly slashed over time, even as he pushes for zero dependence
on consumption of power from the national grid.
The NCC facility at Pebbles Beach is the first of more than 100 Government buildings which will be outfitted with solar electricity systems. Contracts have already been awarded fro 19 of those buildings, Minister of Energy Senator Darcy Boyce announced.