by Shawn Cumberbatch
The race to supply thousands of Barbadian households and businesses with electricity produced from the wind’s energy might not be won by Barbados Light & Power Company.
With the longstanding supplier still seeking permission from land owner Barbados Farms Limited to build its promised wind farm in St. Lucy, one of the country’s most familiar commercial entities has teamed up with a new Barbadian renewable energy enterprise and is developing a $25 million wind energy project with the capacity to supply almost 4,500 homes with power.
This was confirmed this evening by Cave Shepherd & Company Limited Chief Executive Officer, John Williams, who told Barbados TODAY his organisation had invested in RE Power Barbados as part of a strategic diversification policy. That investment has taken the form of equity, which have made Cave Shepherd a shareholder.
And while also revealing that the two partners with Canadian and Barbadian interests would be looking to attract other investors as the venture developed, the private sector boss said its success also hinged on the speed with which Government introduced legislation enabling the electricity produced to be fed into the national grid via BL&P.
Next month will be two years since BL&P received the green light to build a wind farm at Lamberts.
The original plan was to construct a 10 megawatt facility wind farm comprised of 11 wind turbines, associated control building, and access tracks.
Conversely, RE Power and Cave Shepherd’s project is intended to be a smaller 5.6 megawatt, but would generate enough electricity to power 4,500 homes, while reducing fuel costs by approximately $3 a year, and also eliminating 10,000 tonness of carbon dioxide emissions.
Additionally, unlike the BL&P model, RE Power’s plan will not see a cluster of wind turbines on one location.
“In the first instance they are looking at what they call distributed wind, which means that there are looking for individual turbines rather than large wind farms,” Williams noted.
“It is a new area for us so the size of it gave us a level of comfort that it was something we could manage and we felt very comfortable with the partners, … who they were, but very importantly that they had the requisite experience in this business, particularly in Nova Scotia in Canada.
“The biggest challenge really is the unknown, when that legislation will get to Parliament, but it is, as we understand it, quite far advanced so we are hopeful that it will be sooner rather than later,” Williams added.
He was hopeful other investors would join the initiative, pointing out “there will be need for debt financing as well”.
RE Power founder and President Barry Creamer said the aim was to locate the individual wind turbines mainly on agricultural lands, allowing a “small amount” of land to be taken out of production and farming to continue. The aim was also to locate the turbines away from households.
Those involved have not disclosed the location of the first turbine.