The Barbados Government today announced a major thrust to help reduce an $850 million fossil fuel import bill.
Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe informed a luncheon event on sustainable energy for heads of delegations attending a Small Islands Developing States’ Inter-Regional Preparatory Meeting at Hilton Barbados Resort that it had identified over 100 acres of land to build out a sustainable renewable energy programme.
He said due to the limited land space, the country cannot continue to develop open landfills.
“Because of the high emissions of greenhouse gases from landfills, we thought that it would not be a sustainable approach towards energy and towards landfills. We have taken our municipal waste and our types of waste like medical waste and electronic waste and we are now building our a programme to convert that waste to energy. We expect the waste to energy plant to produce about 40 megawatts of power which is a substantial inroad into our needs,” added Lowe.
“Currently, the government pays out over $850 million per year in the purchase of fossil fuels; and we believe strongly that to reduce that import, that we would be able to save a significant amount of foreign exchange, but most importantly, that we would be able to save our environment,” concluded the government minister.
He said that facility would not only address the environmental changes associated with landfills, but will also reduce threats to public health and cut the island’s demands for fossil fuel imports.
The Minister said government has developed energy and renewable energy-related suit of incentives that serves to enable to sector to promote its growth and sustainability. He said incentives include VAT and duty concessions on building materials and supplies for construction of facilities, a zero rate of VAT to apply to all renewable energy and energy efficiency systems and products provided in Barbados and a deduction of 150 per cent on expenditure for certain staff training and eligible businesses. Energy and Environment Practice Leader with the UNDP, Martin Krause, who also spoke acknowledged that the upfront investment in renewable energy products was high.
However, Krause suggested that these costs could be reduced in a variety of ways including private sector investment trading conducive policy environment, regulations, tariffs and grant financing. “There is a lot of grant financing from the Global Environment Facility, multilateral development banks; and that money can be used to reduce the risk of investment by trading capacities, by trading in policy environment and so on,” the UNDP official asserted. (EJ)