Barbados has set new targets of generating 65 per cent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030, and a 22 per cent reduction in electricity consumption by 2019.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made the announcement as he addressed the inaugural EU-Caribbean Sustainable Energy conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, saying the aim was to end the “business as usual scenario”.
“Barbados also intends to achieve an economy wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 44 per cent, compared to a business as usual scenario by 2030,” he said.
“These targets will be achieved through a diversified portfolio of renewable energy projects and energy efficiency programmes, which include waste-to-energy, bio-mass, landfill gas-to-energy and bio-energy projects.”
The Prime Minister said the International Renewable Energy Agency recently concluded an energy road map for Barbados, which showed that increasing the renewable energy penetration level in the electricity supply beyond the 65 per cent target was technically feasible and economically viable.
In fact, Stuart disclosed that the report showed the country could achieve a target of 75 per cent by 2030, with a reduction of electricity system costs by $200 million per year and the creation of over 5,000 jobs in the sector.
“We have already started on this path by continuing the Barbados policy of granting attractive fiscal incentives for green energy initiatives,” Stuart told the gathering.
He also noted that the island had legislated a new regulatory regime to enable independent power producers to sell electricity generated from renewable energy sources to the grid. That regime, Stuart promised, would be fully implemented by the middle of next year.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that in addition to the over nine megawatts of intermittent renewable energy generating systems connected to the grid, another ten megawatts would be commissioned this month.
“And we expect that by this time next year we would have issued licences for 65 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity to be commissioned by early in the year 2018,” he added.
To date, more than 1,000 households and businesses have such systems connected to the grid.
In its initial National Sustainable Energy Policy, Government had set a target of about 29 per cent of all electricity consumption to be generated from renewable energy sources and a reduction of 22 per cent in electricity consumption by 2029.
CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in implementing the Regional Energy Policy, member states agreed to seek to achieve 48 per cent renewable power generation by 2017, while ensuring country-level harmonization of policies and actions in a number of key areas.
Stating that this target was achievable, LaRocque said it could only be achieved by “actions that open regional markets and planning processes to renewable energy options and energy efficiency opportunities, through a transparent and data driven approach”.
“Such an approach would promote public/private partnerships for financing the options and opportunities, and build the requisite human and institutional capacities to exploit them effectively,” he said.
During the opening ceremony, a number of agreements were signed between the EU and CARICOM, including a €3 million (Bds$668,430) national allocation to Barbados for renewable energy under the 11th European Development Fund, as well as a joint declaration on reinforced cooperation in the field of sustainable energy and of new EU support programmes in the Caribbean.