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Renewable energy can aid in reducing massive import bill


Great focus is being placed on the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry in Barbados, to assist Barbados in reducing its high import bill.


This was the information provided by Senator Darcy Boyce, as he explained the need for the renewable energy sector to come to the fore, while debating the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2013 in the Senate on Wednesday.


Senator Boyce noted that during the years 2008 to 2009, Barbados commenced a study with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank, to look at ways in which the country could reduce its import of oil.


“As you would recall, the price of oil rose very rapidly to very high level in 2008 and reached 147 dollars a barrel in the middle of 2008. It fell again for maybe nine months and it has risen every since then, back up to remain very close to 100 dollars a barrel,” he noted.


“What that increase did to the country, is that it almost doubled our imports of fuel, so that our 400 million dollars a year imports in fuel moved to close to 800 million dollars a year in impor-tation of fuel and that equated to almost 10 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. That level of importation clearly serves as a drag on the economy and so we began to search for ways in which we could reduce that level of importation,” Boyce explained.


Of the 800 million-dollar importation bill, it was realised that $400 million was being used to buy fuel for the Barbados Light and Power Company, so that it could generate power, along with other independent producers and manufacturers, Boyce pointed out.


“We decided that we had to try to do something about that level of imports,” the senator commented.


“Over the years, the country has done a wonderful job in reducing its level of imports through the use of solar water heaters, to the tune that we are getting savings of fuel of several million dollars a year for the use of the solar water heater industry and what we thought we should try to do is seek to have a similar success story in respect of solar photovoltaic in the country,” the senator revealed.


More work was done and a study showed that by 2029, Barbados could make two serious advances to reduce its use of imported oil, he said. 


It was realised that Barbados could reduce its usage of fuel by 22 per cent, by going to more energy efficient ways of using power, in the areas of refrigeration, air conditioning, lighting, electromotive operations in businesses, etc. This would result in 88 million dollars’ worth of savings, which equates to about 1 per cent or more of GDP, Boyce revealed.


The study also suggested that Barbados could aim for another 29 per cent, by moving to renewable energy, focusing on five key areas – waste to energy, biomass generation, solar photovoltaic, electricity from solar in the form of wind energy and increased solar water heating operations.


“So that what that study indicated, is that we could by 2029 reduce our use of foreign exchange for the purpose of generating electricity, by the order of 40 per cent to 45 per cent, 22 per cent from efficiency and conservation and a further 29 per cent of that 78 per cent by renewable energy. Forty-five per cent of that $400 million is $180 million a year. That is what we are aiming for by trying to create an industry in renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Boyce concluded. (RSM)



Category/ies:Barbados News, News.
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