Barbados launches US$10 million energy programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday November 30, 2011 – A package of financial instruments and technical assistance has been launched here that aims to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficient projects.

The Sustainable Energy Investment Programme, valued at BDS$20 million (US$10 million), is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said developing a renewable energy sector is critical to restructuring the economy and moving Barbados a step closer to attaining the goal of being a world leader in energy efficiency.

Stuart maintained that the programme would act as a catalyst towards making this country a “cleaner economy” as Barbados aims to be a word leader as a green economy.

He said the fund “would not only facilitate subsidised loans for the implementation of viable renewable energy and energy efficient projects, but it will also provide grants to businesses for funding pre-investment studies, assessing the technical and financial viability of these projects.”

He stated that the facilities will be available to businesses such as manufacturers, hotels, farmers and small enterprises.

In addition, the Prime Minister noted that small entrepreneurs would be able to partner with the fund to provide technical expertise, by conducting energy audits and other studies necessary for businesses wishing to access the arrangement.

He pointed out that other initiatives supported by the fund would include a pilot project, which would provide interest rate rebates to selected retailers that had experience in ‘hire-purchase’ consumer finance schemes.

He said that they would, in turn, offer better hire purchase terms to their customers to purchase renewable energy and energy efficient appliances at a subsidised cost.

If the venture was successful, Mr. Stuart said, it would be expanded in the future.

“The comprehensive investment programme also includes the provision of rebates for customers wishing to replace older air-conditioning models to more energy efficient and ozone depleting substance free systems as well as the distribution of energy efficient lighting to domestic consumers,” he added.

The government is hoping that renewable energy would account for approximately 29 per cent of electricity consumption over the next 20 years. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)