Town & Country Planning still too slow – Rogers
The non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes the development of renewable energy here is complaining that the Town & Country Planning Department is much too slow to approve applications for such projects.
Equally disconcerting for the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) is the absence of clear procedures for approval of renewable energy projects.
BREA anticipates a proliferation of applications to the Town & Country Planning Department for permission for ground-mounted solar installations.
However, BREA President Aidan Rogers said it was important to accelerate the approval process.
“We are aware of instances in which some installers might not have been aware or fully compliant with the various requirements for obtaining approvals, but wish to reiterate a call made in June 2015 for the procedures for approval to be clear to all investors. There is a lot of education and understanding required on both sides and BREA has been pushing arduously for this, and is prepared to work in conjunction with the Chief Town Planner and his team in arriving at a more facilitating approval process consisting of publicly accessible guidelines for ground mounted solar PV installations” Rogers said in a media release this afternoon.
The renewable energy campaigner said the association was keen to work with all parties to improve stakeholder understanding of the require procedures.
Williams Solar, a long-standing investor and advocate of local investment in the sector, last week complained of unfair treatment by the Town & Country Planning Department, noting while it had an outstanding application for a solar farm, the Canadian-based energy firm Deltro Group had received approval for a 70-acre, 10 megawatt solar photovoltaic farm at Waterford, St Michael.
Rogers said BREA had worked in the past with Town & Country Planning on technical matters pertaining to rooftop solar installations, and stood ready to deepen its relationship with that Government department and investors.
“The big picture is that Barbados needs to move speedily towards the creation of a 100 per cent renewable energy island and the regulatory and licencing processes, which are the starting point for any investment, need to be understood by all and sundry for this to happen,” Rogers stressed.
BREA is the island’s sole independent renewable energy NGO with a mandate to assist in the development of the sector.