Renewable energy on the island may get a boost from the Swedish Energy Agency.
This was hinted at recently as Sweden’s Ambassador to Barbados, Claes Hammar, paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, at her Culloden Road office.
Ambassador Hammar said the department, which falls under Sweden’s ministry of the environment, focused on the creation of resilience in the energy sector against climatic effects, the strengthening of the energy system and the better detection of climate changes.
Stating that it was affiliated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, he said Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as Dominica, stood to benefit, as well as Barbados.
“It’s about providing a bit of resistance for energy systems. I’m very happy Barbados is one of the four countries…There is no commercial intent from our side. It is mainly to see what can be done to create more resilience and that’s the main focus,” Hammar said.
Senator McClean said the project would be of interest to Barbados’ Ministries of Health and Energy.
“I know that we have been doing quite a bit of work from the perspective of the legislative environment. We’ve passed certain legislation in relation to the national grid and providing incentives both at the commercial and domestic level. So we are doing quite a bit of work and I am happy . . . For us it is important, when we look at our energy bill,” she said.
Referring to a proposal tabled at an international conference, and calling for the setup of a centre for renewable energy and efficiency, possibly in Barbados, the Swedish Ambassador said: “It would be good if the centre was established here, with Barbados being one of the four countries we would be working with. That would give impetus to the study.”
Senator McClean acknowledged that the centre was considered “very important”.
“I know there was strong sentiment towards having it located here and we have been doing quite a bit of work in renewable energy, both at the level of Government and private sector initiatives. I know there is an association, the Barbados Renewable Energy Association, that has been doing quite bit of work.
“They, in fact, have some very ambitious projects in terms of solar energy consumption and they partner with Government and a number of international agencies as well. So, I think there is much happening at the level of Government, private sector and civil society [to warrant such a centre],” she said.
McClean added: “I think for our hotels, for example, a major expense to them is energy and so this is something they see as pretty beneficial. The incentives to make the transition would really aid them, making it attractive for hotel plants to invest.”
She said Government had been leading by example by utilizing solar energy in schools and some public buildings.
Ambassador Hammar lauded the efforts and urged Barbados to put forward proposals for funding from Sweden, bearing in mind that his country was also a signatory to other agencies, including the Global Environmental Facility in Washington.