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Transport Board to get more electric buses

Shawn Cumberbatch

Transport Board to get more electric buses
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Andrew Gittens. (Picture by Jameel Springer)

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The Transport Board could be getting another 20 electric buses over the next two years thanks to a multi-million dollar programme executed by the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Special Projects in the ministry Andrew Gittens said this would be facilitated by the $94 million Energy Smart Fund of the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme.

“This financial year we supported the Transport Board with two electric buses and we are in discussions currently now with the Transport Board through these current Estimates to help to buy ten additional electric buses, and we are also discussing the possibility of [buying] as much as 20 over the next two financial years,” he said during the Estimates Debate.

Gittens, who is responsible for implementation of the Barbados National Energy Policy, explained that the Energy Smart Fund project would be for five years, and “to a large extent the funds here are to help us to realise the objective outlined in the National Energy Policy to transition the country from fossil fuel to renewable energy”.

The ministry’s project manager Keisha Reid said the next phase of the initiative would involve the retrofitting of more than 100 Government buildings with solar panels to generate energy.

She was responding to a question from Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley about the amount of fees for professional services and consultancies in the ministry’s prosposed budget for the 2021-2022 financial year.

Reid said the consultancies were necessary as there was a need “to get a better understanding in terms of the structural integrity of the buildings before we actually seek to put [solar photovoltaics] on the roofs”.

“So we have consultancy services with respect to hiring a structural engineering firm to do that work, we also have to complete investment grid audits to get a better understanding in terms of the energy use for the various buildings and to plan in terms of what are the actual retrofits we will be doing,” she explained. (SC)