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$10m solar project on the way

Article taken from the Midweek Nation – Wednesday May 18, 2022

THE BARBADOS NATIONAL OIL COMPANY (BNOC), the general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and Emera Capital, the owner of the Barbados Light & Power Company, will conclude negotiations before the end of the week on a $10 million dollar mega watt solar photovoltaic agreement.

This was revealed in the Lower House yesterday by Senior Minister, Kerrie Symmonds, who is the Minister of Energy and Business Development.

He told Parliament that the chief operating officer of Emera will arrive in Barbados today “to begin conclusion of the discussions on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that would allow the BWU to be a partner with BNOC in laying out ten mega watts of solar photovoltaic.”

This, he said, would allow the BWU to be a stakeholder in Barbados’ energy transformation “because we can’t do this without taking along with us the working class people who in their numbers sent us here”.

He added that Government was also partnering with the Light & Power so that they could source 250 mega watts of battery storage “to put us in a position to execute this project”.

Symmonds was at the time speaking during the resolution to lease to the BNOC a parcel of land, which is the property of the state, situated at Fairy Valley, Christ Church, for the purpose of a solar photovoltaic power plant and battery storage system.

Of the agreement Symmonds made it clear that the BNOC would be taking the lead in building out the renewable energy sector. He said already there were extensive discussions had at examining how to generate economic activity by way of renewable energy, as he noted that the BNOC “has to reconfigure its business model”.

Pointing out that there were persons driving all around Barbados looking for available land for solar farms, Symmonds said the BNOC “has to get out there as some of the deep pocketed white boys”.

He noted: “The renewable energy sector is poised to deliver to Barbados two and a half billion US in investment across a mix of energy opportunities,” as he went on to list these as solar photovoltaic, on shore wind farms; off shore wind; biomass and hydrogen.

He also reminded that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley had already given the right to every citizen to install photovoltaic systems in their homes, which he referred to as a historic moment.

The minister said that with the last two months Cabinet had considered a concept paper on how to execute the renewable energy sector and this was being further refined.

The Government Electrical Engineering Department, he pointed out, would be a key participant while more persons would be trained and certified to become inspectors and conduct installations

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