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BNOCL to transform into a renewable energy generator

Article taken from Barbados TODAY News – Wednesday May 18, 2022

The Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) will soon move from being just an oil and gas provider to a modern energy provider with emphasis on renewable energy generation.

Minister of Energy and Business Development Kerrie Symmonds said on Tuesday that although BNOCL’s mandate in the past has placed it in charge of the distribution of petroleum resources on the island, it was time for the entity to make greater moves into the renewable energy sphere, given the Government’s intention of reaching 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“The national oil company is taking the lead in this matter, because the national oil company has to reconfigure its business model,” he said in the House of Assembly as he spoke on a resolution to approve the acquisition of crown lands in Fairy Valley, Christ Church on behalf of the BNOCL for the construction of a large solar photovoltaic plant and battery storage.

“The country is moving away from the importation of oil and gas. The country will be certainly, – if I have anything to do with it – even before 2030, in a position where we will be looking at generating our economic activity, our industrial activity, lighting and operating our offices and our homes by way of renewable energy.

“Now the national oil company is not just going to disappear, it must position itself to be at the core of new revenue streams and that new revenue stream is reflected by its involvement here . . . in a renewable energy enterprise, a solar farm to be precise, where 5 megawatts of activity will take place,” he explained.

The Energy Minister further declared that BNOCL did not simply have to oversee the new solar farm’s competition, but seek out other renewable energy projects that will benefit the taxpayer, in the same way other wealthy local entrepreneurs have been investing heavily in the sector.

“Gone forever must be the days when the oil company or the NPC [National Petroleum Corporation] management feel they can sit back, and don’t worry because you got to import oil and gas, and that company got to make money because you can’t function without the oil and gas…. You have to get out there now as some of the deep pocketed white boys are doing – every Sunday you see them up and down Barbados, don’t pass a plantation yard without turning in to make inquiries as to whether they can get that land,” he said.

The Energy Minister stressed that no other sector is capable of unlocking that kind of investment in new activity immediately.
“Therefore, it makes good sense for a government that is serious about trying to get us into a flight path as we come out of the doldrums of a pandemic recession type situation, that we must now get into an uptick which is as quick and as fluid as possible,” he said. (SB)

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