The uncertainty around the Barbados Light and Power’s electricity monopoly licence, seen as a possible obstacle to its renewable energy goals, is to be resolved by year-end, Energy Minister Wilfred Abrahams has promised.
The disclosure comes as the licence is set to expire two years short of the Government’s 2030 target for total renewable energy as the renewable energy industry urges the licence’s renewal.
He revealed that Government was actively engaged in negotiations with BL&P towards a mutually satisfactory conclusion in a matter of months.
Abrahams told Barbados TODAY: “We are in the process of working to come to a resolution with all outstanding licence considerations with Barbados Light and Power. You will hear something on that very soon but at this point in time the ministry is actively getting its house in order to start those negotiations.
“We are putting ourselves in the position where we have the best advice. The end of the year cannot pass without everything being done, dusted and nailed down.”
Back in January, the leader of the renewable energy community urged Government to pick up the pace on key infrastructural and policy changes, failing which the goal of making Barbados 100 per cent dependent on renewable energy by 2030, will amount to nothing more than just fancy talk.
The president of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA), Jerry Franklin, said then that Government must immediately extend Barbados Light and Power’s licence to provide electricity.
He explained that it was unreasonable to expect BL&P to make substantial investments in renewable energy infrastructure without assurances since its licence expires in 2028.
Said Franklin: “The utility company’s involvement is critical. We cannot do this without the involvement of the utility company and currently their licence expires in nine years.
“This might sound like a long time to some people, but I can assure that it is not. They (BL&P) will need to start to make investments to support this transition and they are going to be hesitant to do that if they don’t know if they are even going to be existing in the next 11 years.
“So, we strongly believe that the utility’s licence needs to get addressed now so that they can be part of this process in developing the detailed strategy on how we move forward to 100 per cent renewable energy.”
But Abrahams emphasised that while Government understood the need for urgency, every precaution will be taken to ensure that no one-sided agreements are struck.
The energy minister told Barbados TODAY: “The Barbados Light and Power is going to get their certainty just as everybody else is going to get theirs. The Government of Barbados is not playing around with this.
“Equally, any agreement that is made with the Barbados Light and Power has to make sense to the Government as well. It also has to make sense to the people of Barbados.
“So, the Government of Barbados is getting the best advice to make sure that whatever licence or structure we use going forward not only makes sense to everyone but also fits into our 2030 policy.”