BLPC limit threatening
BREA voices concern after statement that power company is nearing 7 megawatts
The Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) believes Government will have to intervene following reports by the Barbados Light & Power Company (BLPC) that it is nearing the limit on how much electricity it can accept from customers with renewable energy systems.
BREA’s Executive Director Clyde Griffith said the limit not only threatens the operations of existing companies, but will be a major blow to the Freundel Stuart administration’s policy of having 20 megawatts of renewable energy within 15 years.
Last week, BLPC said in a statement that it is nearing the 7 megawatts of installed capacity – the cap set under the Renewable Energy Rider programme which facilitates the sale of excess electricity to the grid by customers using a solar photovoltaic or wind renewable energy system to offset electricity consumption from the grid.
Griffith said there is much concern among those in the industry.
“If we get to 7 megawatts, which Light and Power says we will soon get to, a lot of PV (photo voltaic) installations will probably be put on hold although they said they had several applications that they’ve not acted upon as yet and they’re looking at talking with the installers,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“I’m told that they’re having a meeting to talk to installers to see what are the implications for the limit.”
Griffith could not give a date for that meeting, although he suggested it may be held this week.
“I cannot really see how Light and Power could really stick to its limit of 7 megawatts. They don’t sound like that to me and we will have to wait to see what are the results of the discussion with installers. But people are fearful. I don’t accept that this will happen. I’ve had a conversation with the Government and the Government was talking about 20 megawatts by 2029 in order to cut the fuel import bill which is astronomically high.”
When the BLPC initially proposed setting the renewable energy cap at 4 megawatts, the BREA objected and made a case for it to be increased to 20.
BLPC, with agreement from the Free Trade Commission, subsequently moved it to 7 megawatts.
Griffith, who met last week with BLPC officials, said the BLPC is itself sending mixed messages given that it has invited tenders to install an 8 megawatt solar plant in St Lucy, and has also commissioned a study to determine whether the national grid can securely deal with more than 7 megawatts.
“It would be farcical for the Government to talk about having 20 megawatts by 2029 and in effect allow that cap to stand. It doesn’t make sense to me so I’m thinking past the 7 megawatts and I believe Light and Power is also thinking past it, although it has not been very clear,” Griffith added.