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RE powers winds of change


SHAWN CUMBERBATCH

RE powers winds of change

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WINDS OF CHANGE might sweep into the local energy sector using an unexpected route.

Renewable energy investor RE Power (Barbados) Inc. ­– which plans to invest $25 million in a 5.5 megawatt wind farm by setting up turbines mainly on agricultural land – will be starting new discussions with some St George property owners in a bid to use sites where the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC) once drilled.

RE Power founder and president Barry Creamer told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that the company had initiated discussions with BNOC over the plan, but would now be forced to revisit it by negotiating with the landowners. This was because the state entity had only leased small amounts of land to explore for hydrocarbons.

“We had long discussions with them [BNOC] and we had all of the site visits and BNOC has a lot of oil sites that are basically at their end of life up and down the St George valley. We know the wind is very good up there, the issue with BNOC is that typically the leases that they had were a very small footprint, they would just lease enough land to put the oil donkey on and that’s where it got hung up,” he explained.

“Although we don’t really [need] much more land than that, we do need more when we [consider] the setbacks needed for the wind turbines. Our plan is to put a turbine which has about 75 metres to the hot tip of the blade in the upright position, so we need to have about 130 metres to the boundary of the property. It’s the boundary setback that is determined by the Town Planning Department, and in a lot of the leases that BNOC has they don’t have that distance.

“So that means that we have to go back further to the landowners that BNOC is leasing from and try and strike deals with them and we have had a few discussions. There is certainly some interest.”

Creamer was also keen to resume discussions with LIME to examine the possibility of using its property at Boarded Hall, St George to establish “a renewable energy centre of excellence”.

“I think there are enough players coming up to the table now that this [centre] could work and that site that LIME has up there at Boarded Hall would be a perfect spot to have an incubator cluster of a number of renewable energy companies.”

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