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Stieber: Mix of renewable energy systems needed

An international player in the renewable energy sector is advising local officials to incorporate a mix of renewable energy systems, and not just focus on solar, as they expand the sector.

In addition, senior project manager at the German-based company Hybrid Energy Solutions Heiko Stieber said, it was critical that careful research is carried out.

Stieber, who has done work in other countries, played a critical role in the recent installation of the $900,000 solar photovoltaic systems at BICO Ltd’s Cold Storage facility. He said it was about time Barbados look more to alternative sources of energy, given the level of wind and sunshine here.

Heiko Stieber

Heiko Stieber

“We are not talking about just building big plants and lots of solar systems. It has to be a mixture of conventional energy and renewable energy because we all want to participate in stable electrification . . . Therefore, I always say take your time and investigate. Take a look what is happening and . . . what is the best way to produce energy on your island.”

Germany has managed to lessen its dependency on fossil fuel by about 20 per cent over the years with use of solar systems and other sources.

Stieber said it took a lot of discussion from citizens in that European country to drive the expansion of renewable energy systems “and the politicians followed the call”.

“I think this is the biggest fault that you have on this island, that the people want to have more renewable energy and then you have to have a master plan that decides how much renewable energy is integrated year by year, also taking a look at the stability of the grid,” he said.

“It has to be a mixture of everything to stabilize the system. If you just rely on one source you are hooked up to this one source; take a look at the solar system – at night time it cannot produce. Coupling a solar system with a wind system you have the possibility of the winds blowing at night time producing alternate energy at night time.”

Stieber added: “I would really like to see a mixture of different production systems and then you would find out building up the systems what is the best for you or what mixture is the best for you,” explained Stieber.

He said one of the major challenges associated with most of the renewable energy systems was the initial investment, but added that once that was made the maintenance costs were “very low” and the benefits were lasting.


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