Barbados News

Barbados looking to fully develop renewable energy sector

Energy and Water Resources Minister, Wilfred A. Abrahams, is equating efforts to have the island powered entirely by renewable energy by 2013 as “Barbados’ Man on the Moon Moment”.

In a message to mark Energy Month 2019, Abrahams said the recent destruction caused by hurricanes when they ploughed through the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica ad the Bahamas underscored the need for Barbados to build resilience into its electricity grid.

“Here at home, we must never take the potential threat of natural disasters for granted. We must never allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security on the basis of our relatively good fortune. The inevitable effect of climate change suggests that each hurricane event we are spared, may bring us closer to the hurricane event which will change our reality and indeed our lives.”

Energy Month 2019, is being observed here under the theme “Empowering People: Building Resilience,” and Abrahams said it “reflects the true experience of all Barbadians fortunate enough to be here as we perform the revolutionary work necessary to have our island state powered with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030”.

The Energy and Water Resources Minister said the unpredictable natural disasters have in some instances erased decades of growth and inflicted untold hardship on entire populations and as a result, preparation, vision and foresight are therefore key elements to readiness in the event of a natural disaster.

“Pursuit of true resilience requires that this government must consider, in addition to the distributed generation of electricity through renewable sources, investments in emerging technologies such as battery storage.”

He said battery storage is critical as energy back-up to supplement the preponderance of Photovoltaic systems (PV’s) already installed at a number of critical institutions, such as the seaport, the airport, a number of schools which are hurricane shelters, some community centres and other government buildings.

“As a result of these initiatives and with the reality of a very different future in mind, Barbadians will eventually observe in a practical way a changing Barbados with electric buses, wind turbines, waste to energy generation through investments in anaerobic digestion, the exploitation of ocean technology and many other new, radical types of alternative fuels.

“Moreover, as we move towards the achievement of our 2030 target more and more Barbadians are opting to democratise the potential savings from electricity self-generation by investing in the PV revolution, or by investing in electric vehicles powered without the direct use of fossil fuels,” he added.

Abrahams said that the reality is that the future will be one where new types of alternative fuels will become as commonplace to the next generation as the internal combustion engine is to ours.

“This is the type of transformational shift in thinking and technology that was crucial in achieving what was thought to be impossible, when in 1961 the first man attempted to orbit the planet and only eight short years later in 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Barbadians will be empowered; that we will build resilience into our electricity sector as we accelerate on the road to 100% Renewable Energy: Building a clean and energy efficient future together. The achievement of our 2030 goal will be Barbados’ Man on the Moon Moment,” Abrahams said.

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