The Freundel Stuart Administration has assured the island’s sole electricity supplier, it will protect it from falling apart while efforts intensify to integrate renewable energy into the economy.
Minister Responsible for Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce sought to give comfort to the Barbados Light & Power Company this morning, as he addressed the opening of the Third Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation Regulatory Forum at Hilton Barbados.
Boyce made it clear that while his government was taking all steps necessary to significantly reduce its $400 million fuel import bill, it would not allow the integration of renewable energy into the national grid, at any cost.
“We see in the renewable energy movement, the opportunity to create new jobs requiring new skills for many of our people,” Minister Boyce noted. “But we are in no position financially to subsidise prices of energy, be it generated from fossil fuels or renewable energy; and so our intention is to permit the integration of renewable energy into out economy, only where there are resulting net positive economic and financial benefits,” asserted the Cabinet Minister.
“We are also determined,” he assured, ”that the introduction of renewable energy should not reduce the stability of our electricity supply in the country.”
He stated that Barbados has an “enviable” record of stability of supply of electricity and the integration of renewable energy should do nothing to damage that record.
“As a corollary to this, we intend that this integration does not damage the financial viability and attractiveness of our electricity utility to investors, as we are convinced that these characteristics of the utility are critical to ensure that the supply of electricity in Barbados continues at the high level to which we have become accustomed,” Boyce declared.
He argued that this stability has been a key learning curve in managing and improving the grid that will integrate renewable energy. He believed that the Light & Power Company and the regulator were taking into account the different characteristics of the stability of energy generated from the various sources of renewable energy. The minister was also of the view that the two parties have adopted the approach of balancing risks. “It seems to me that this is a reasonable and fair approach; and already the utility is embarking on revising the integrated plan,” Minister Boyce pointed out.
“As the regulator is doing in assessing the first integrated resource plan, I expect that it will seek independent expert professional advice on the revision of that plan, when that revision is presented in the not too distant future,” he observed.
He told the forum that the government has already started the search for similar independent expert advice to equip itself to respond to that revision. The government official suggested that such advice should help ensure its policy on renewable energy was adequately and reasonably incorporated into the revised plan. (EJ)