Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Call to invest in renewable energy

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The head of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) says the country faces a tall order to achieve a 100 per cent renewable energy economy by 2030, with companies closing and just five per cent achieved to date.

But BREA president Jerry Franklyn is also urging Barbadians to take advantage of a unique opportunity to invest and earn from the sector.

Speaking at a lunchtime lecture of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Franklyn, an engineer, said Barbadians, institutions such as credit unions and companies have a chance to invest in and earn handsomely from the renewable energy sector.

Previously only the Canadian-owned Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd was permitted to invest in electricity, he said. With the changing of the regulations some years ago Barbadian companies and individuals now had an opportunity to benefit and retain income in the country.

“We (BREA) have been trying to encourage the credit unions and average citizens to get involved in it,” Franklyn, head of the energy company EnSmart Inc., told DLP stalwarts.

“If we don’t get involved in this transition other people will do it for us,” he added, hinting at foreign corporations investing in and repatriating income from the sector.

He said communities and organisations could come together and establish co-operatives to invest in rooftop solar systems which would earn handsome returns on investment by selling renewable energy to the grid.

The BREA president suggested urgency was required to set a fixed tariff for renewable energy sold to the grid, adding Government needed to establish a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.

Describing 2019 as an important year to start moving towards the 100 per cent target of a fossil fuel-free economy, Franklyn said Government should consider encouraging investment in lithium ion batteries for storage.

“Barbados has set a target of 100 per cent [renewable energy] by 2030. In terms of getting to that target it is not a lot of time at all,” he said. He noted Barbados produces about eight per cent of its fuel requirements. The BREA president said average Barbadians need to consider contributing in simple ways to reducing their use of energy in the home such as turning off lights, changing over to LED lights and unplugging appliances which were not being used. (HH)

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