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EDITORIAL: On correct green path


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: On correct green path

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When it comes to the deployment of green energy technology and the reduction in the use of traditional sources of power, the Government is on the right track.

We may not be moving nearly as fast as we could, particularly when we juxtapose the amount of talking we have done over the past decade or so against the amount of action we have taken, but still the path we have chosen makes sense.

Since the Democratic Labour Party took control of the instruments of office in early 2008 the speeches of its operatives have said nothing less than that it has a genuine interest in seeing the country develop the means of being able to sustain its future by having control over the generation of power from renewable sources.

And when Prime Minister Freundel Stuart addressed the United States Climate Change Summit in New York three days ago, he literally pulled all the pieces together to offer the world a much clearer picture of where we are headed. It sounds impressive.

This plan will involve the conversion of biomass into electricity as part of the restructuring of the sugar industry, the deployment of a significant number of electric vehicles in the public fleet, the wholesale replacement of conventional street lights with LED technology, and the establishment of a 40 megawatt waste-to-energy plant.

Government is also looking at laying the groundwork for the harnessing of the ocean’s energy, while giving greater impetus to the one aspect of the plan with which most Barbadians can easily identify, the facilitation of the use of photovoltaic technology to directly power our homes and businesses.

Now we may not be happy with the current structure that appears to limit the pace at which residential and commercial photovoltaic systems can be deployed and tied into the national grid, and we certainly have questions about the apparent influence of Barbados Light & Power in the entire process while also being a competitor, but these are not issues that should slow down or derail Government’s green energy train.

In the same vein, we are absolutely not convinced that Government’s relationship with Cahill Energy as a partner for the financing, building and operating of the waste-to-energy plant at Vaucluse, St Thomas is the best deal for Barbados. But we do believe that a waste-to-energy plant ought to be a key plank of the national renewable energy agenda.

Nationally, Barbadians may have issues with the approach of our Prime Minister on a variety of matters, but when it comes to energy and the environment we would be less than fair if we did not recognise the zeal and passion with which he has been championing the cause.

An approach aimed at cutting our dependence on imported fossil fuels by almost 30 per cent could boost our productive capacity significantly if we can successfully translate it into reality, and it is important that the Government turns the talk into an enabling environment and our private sector buys into the exercise with vigour. Just think of how much more we could do for our citizenry if we succeed in slashing our energy bill by almost $600 million in about a decade and a half.

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