Barbados' potential to save millions of dollars

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday September 29, 2010 – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says Barbados has the potential to generate enough alternative energy to save close to US$300 million over the next two decades. And to help the country, the financial institution has provided a US$45 million loan to assist in creating a sustainable energy framework.

“The country has potential for on and off-shore wind energy, biomass cogeneration, waste to energy, as well as solar photovoltaic panels which could be installed in the roofs of the houses, commercial and government buildings,” said IDB energy specialist Christiaan Gischler. 

With the new sustainable energy framework, the IDB said that by 2029 about 29 percent of energy consumed in Barbados could be generated by renewable sources; 19.4 percent could be saved with energy efficiency programmes, generating net benefits for the country that include savings in electricity costs of at least US$285 million in the next 20 years; and carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by around 4.5 million tons in the same period.

Gischler said the most cost-effective appliances for the country are compact fluorescent lamps, power monitors, premium efficiency motors, efficient air conditioning systems, “all commercially available or easily made commercially accessible in Barbados”.

The IDB-financed programme will help address the barriers, mainly policy and regulatory, which prevent the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, such as institutional, policy and regulatory barriers, and will promote professional and technical capabilities.

Barbados has some oil production, but domestic demand greatly exceeds local supply. The country’s dependency on fuel imports represents a significant expenditure. Around US$208 million was spent on oil imports in 2007. That represents about seven percent of the gross domestic product of Barbados, comparable to government expenditure on education. 

The IDB has also financed sustainable energy and energy efficient projects in other parts of the Caribbean, including The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Suriname.

Additionally, there are several operations for more than US$150 million in aid, including loans, Global Environment Facility-funded projects and IDB technical assistance, being prepared for the region for the 2011-2012 period.

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