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Barbados strives for renewable energy mix with $ 45 million loan

By Nuel Navarrete

Green News, Barbados, Inter-American Development Bank, Barbados renewable energy, Barbados energy efficiency, Barbados fossil fuels, Barbados energy mix, Sustainable Energy Investment Program

If Barbados harnesses its renewable energy potential, the country could source 29 percent of its power requirement from clean, renewable sources.

The picturesque island nation of Barbados will receive a $45 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to develop its fledgling renewable energy sector and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

The loan will help Barbados introduce solar, wind and biomass energy into its energy mix, which is dominated by imported oil. The country draws 100 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels, with 82 percent coming from heavy fuel oil and 18 percent from diesel fuel, according to a 2008 report of the Barbados Light and Power Company.

Furthermore, power generation accounts for 50 percent of the country’s total fuel consumption, which stands at a rate of approximately 1,000 barrels per day.

Barbados has an installed capacity of 239 megawatts of electricity, but if the country harnesses its renewable energy potential, it could source 29 percent of its power requirement from clean, renewable sources. For instance, biomass cogeneration could provide 20 MW, while waste-to-energy systems and wind power facilities could supply 13.5 MW and 10 MW, respectively.

Solar photovoltaic power will also play a major role in greening the country’s energy portfolio, said Christiaan Gischler, the project team leader.

“We will see at least 1-MW of installed PV panels in the next two years. The government of Barbados and the project team believe that PV’s can follow the trend of solar water heaters, so popular in Barbados that one in every three residences on the island have a unit installed,” he estimated.

The loan will also help promote energy efficiency across the power grid through the integration of energy-saving devices. Installations such as compact fluorescent lamps, power monitors, efficient air conditioning systems and chillers can cut 19.4 percent from the island’s total electricity consumption.

Barbados can also generate extra funds for additional energy efficiency and energy reduction projects by trading the credits earned from the greenhouse gas emission savings in the global carbon market.

“The energy sector is one of the priorities of the I.D.B. strategy with Barbados and this new project is part of a series of sustainable energy initiatives that the bank is financing to help lower oil imports, increase use of renewable energy in energy mix and promote more efficient energy use,” Mr. Gischler said.

The multilateral bank is currently preparing the $10 million sustainable energy investment program that will design essential financial mechanisms to jumpstart the country’s renewable energy and energy efficiency markets. The program targets the residential sector, as well as small and medium enterprises.



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