Barbados today signed an agreement with the European Union (EU) under which the Brussels-headquartered international grouping will invest $9.1 million to develop the local energy sector under the Barbados National Indicative Programme (NIP).
Speaking at his official Ilaro Court residence, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told reporters the money, which will be disbursed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), would help support the Government’s energy sector goals as defined in the draft 2013 Government of Barbados Energy Policy.
“The main elements of this policy are (l) to increase the share of economically viable renewable energy in Barbados’ energy mix; (2) to achieve savings in the country’s consumption of electricity compared to a ‘business as usual’ scenario; (3) to achieve savings in transportation and other non-electric energy uses and (4) to increase the sustainability and efficiency of fossil fuel exploration, production transportation, storage and use across all sectors,” he said.
Stuart said increasing the awareness and skills of the people of Barbados in relation to sustainable energy was another element of the policy. He said the specific objective was to support the recently started Government pilot programme for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in primary and secondary schools, “ . . . thereby raising awareness, reducing energy costs and securing a reliable energy supply for schools designated as hurricane/natural disaster shelters.”
“Complementary to this will be a capacity building programme for educators on renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he added.
Stuart said the related financing agreement would be ready for signature by early next year. “Under this programme, Euros three million have been allocated to the sector; Euros 150,000 to support civil society; Euros 200,000 towards technical assistance to support or accompany the programming, preparation and implementation; and Euros 150,000 to support the office of the National Authorising Officer,” he explained.
European Union ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mikael Barfod, who signed the agreement with the Prime Minister, noted that money under this phase of the EDF would serve to cement relations between Barbados and the EU over the period 2014 to 2020.
Barfod said even though the NIP had previously benefitted from $7.7 million to assist the Smart Renewable Energy Programme, it still remained a significant investment. He also revealed that total current support had been put at about $110 million for the Barbados Human Resource Development Programme.
“To date, we have disbursed 87 per cent of these funds, making this one of our more successful programmes,” the top EU official added. (EJ)