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$33.3m loan for energy plan

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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Barbados is to benefit from a US$17 million (BDS$33.3 million) loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for its public sector smart energy programme.
The Washington-based financial institution said the programme’s resources are expected to be supplemented with a US$7.6 million (BDS$14.88 million) European Union (EU) grant, the first such facility to be made by the EU under a framework agreement with the IDB.
IDB said the Public Sector Smart Energy programme, which will implement renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency and conservation measures via Government agencies, complements a broad range of policies, programmes and actions Barbados is adopting to cut energy costs and reduce its dependence on imported fuel.
Additionally, an Energy Smart Fund for the private sector is currently in operation, targeting enterprises such as hotels to facilitate the purchase of renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment, it said.
“Both the private and public sectors of the country will be actively contributing to the achievement of the overall objective of reducing the country’s fossil-fuel dependency,” said Christiaan Gischler, IDB team leader of the Barbados Public Sector Smart Energy programme.
The IDB said nearly 90 per cent of the energy consumed in Barbados comes from imported oil.
According to Government data, the fuel import bill is about six per cent of gross domestic product, which is equivalent to the country’s spending on education.
Under the combined IDB-EU-funded programme, the IDB said, Barbados will replace almost all its public street lights with energy-efficient lamps, retrofit at least 12 Government buildings with solar power systems, and deploy energy efficiency and conservation technologies throughout the public sector.
“The Barbados Public Sector Smart Energy programme is an excellent example of the cooperation between the European Commission and the IDB for promoting sustainable energy in the Caribbean,” said Hubert Perr, chargé d’affaires of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
The IDB said Barbados would save at least US$45 million (BDS$88.1 million) over 20 years that can be used for other purposes and the programme would contribute to reducing 132 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the same period.
On a pilot basis, the programme will establish a Government fleet of electric vehicles with charging dock stations and its own solar power system, IDB said.
“This is a pioneering project that could eventually be replicated in other Latin American and Caribbean countries,” Gischler said.
In addition, the IDB said the programme will fund feasibility studies for an ocean-power plant, the first in this region. (CMC)