Prominent businessman, Ralph ‘Bizzy’ Williams has criticized regional governments for their red tape on developmental projects.
Williams said regional authorities need to change their mindset and legislation if they want the alternative energy sector to blossom.
During an address at the University of West Indies Cave Hill Alumini Symposium on the developmental needs of the region, Williams discussed creating a solar-powered Barbados.
But he said outdated legislation and the length of time it takes to get permission from the authorities is delaying developments.
“The sun belt of the world has been held hostage by the oil producers for decades. It is our turn now to use our natural resources to power our economies and we can do it,” said Williams.
“The development of the country is going to depend on a different level of thinking among the regulators.”
Williams said Barbados could be equipped with enough photovoltaic panels to power the entire country which would require two per cent of the island’s land mass amounting to $4.49 billion. He also said wind power is not fully explored in the island.
“The regulations for wind turbines in Barbados require that the sound levels must not be beyond 35, that is quieter than a tomb so how are we supposed to move ahead producing power from the wind if that regulation is in place. They also specify that the base of a turbine must be at least 350 meters from the nearest boundary or the nearest home . . . We are not in Canada which has huge open areas so I have written a request to reduce it to 230 metres and we will see what happens there,” Williams said.
While noting that it takes more than a year to get permission from government to construct a photovoltaic array in one’s backyard, the chairman of Williams Industries argued that’s too long.
“We need a different mindset among the population in general and the regulators in particular. We need a different mindset, one of cooperation and we will get this thing done at all costs,” Williams said.