Smart energy drive in Barbados

The Barbadian government has launched Smart Energy Barbados to support its goal to be 100% renewable powered by 2030.

The very much consumer focussed initiative is intended to make available a wide range of information in the form of articles and podcasts for homes and businesses to become more energy savvy, along with details of the country’s energy policy and other energy related information.

As part of the initiative, consumers are being encouraged to become ‘Energy Champions’ who practice energy efficiency in their daily lives and inspire others to do the same.

For those who want to become professionally involved in the sector, an online catalogue has been compiled highlighting tertiary level courses at the University of West Indies and elsewhere.

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“The main objective is to motivate Barbadians to help realize the national goal of being 100% renewable by 2030,” explained Keisha Reid, Programme Manager for the Project Execution Unit in the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, at the launch of the initiative.

“Barbados needs energy champions to achieve the 2030 goal.”

National energy plan

Barbados launched its national energy plan in 2019 with key goals for 2030 to provide reliable and safe energy services across the island and become 100% renewable powered with maximised distributed energy resource participation from homes and businesses.

Another is to create a regional centre of excellence in renewable energy research and development.

As of the development of the plan, 80% of primary energy supply was accounted for by fossil fuels, which was a significant drain on foreign exchange.

Like other Caribbean islands, solar is the primary resource and targets include 205MW of centralised solar and 105MW of distributed solar. Others are 150MW each of onshore and offshore wind and 15MW of biomass to achieve a total installed capacity of 625MW. This is expected to be supplemented with 200MW of energy storage, approximately two-thirds of which is centralised and one-third distributed.

Feasibility studies have indicated the potential for fixed and/or floating offshore wind turbines but wave energy has been rejected at this stage due to the commercial unreadiness of the technology.

Some other initiatives that are being or have been implemented include a Solar House showcasing solar and other energy efficiency technologies, demonstration of smart energy building systems and promotion of energy efficiency measures in the public sector. Funding also has been allocated to disaster risk response.