Transition, investment plan in motion
Article taken from the Daily Nation April 18th, 2023
BARBADOS IS ON ITS way to transitioning its National Energy Plan into an Energy Transition and Investment Plan (ETIP).
Minister of Energy and Business Development, Senator Lisa Cummins said her ministry with support from the international organisation SEforAll and the UN Special Envoy, were working out the logistics associated with the transition which will include investment opportunities and a comprehensive energy transition incorporating all of the major sectors.
Yesterday personnel from several of these sectors including transportation, industry, utility, and oil gathered at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre to participate in a two-day stakeholder workshop dealing with the conversion plans.
During the opening ceremony, Cummins along with chief executive officer of SEforALL, Damilola Ogunbiyi and UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, addressed the gathering which included key personnel from the various sectors.
In a press conference afterwards Cummins updated the media on the plans to get Barbados ready for ETIP.
Shared with public
She pointed out that a few months communication would be shared with the public about the investment opportunities, the overall cost to transition and what the transition entails.
However, she said SEforall would be setting up an office here to assist with the transition.
Stressing that investment was needed, Ogunbiyi lauded Barbados for its comprehensive development of a national energy plan as she made specific reference to the householders plan which she noted was a rare initiative.
She said Barbados had the ability to be an “exemplar of energy transition around the world.”
“We are now developing what the true cost is … In a few months’ time we would be able to give the cost from transport, industry, the oil sector and the policy and implementation and how we are actually going to get investment into Barbados,” she said.
Ogunbiyi also disclosed that there was a lot of technical work that needed to go into the new plan as she disclosed that “having Barbados as that hub that can also sell equipment to the rest of the Caribbean is also very important.”
Cummins disclosed that the partnership with SEforALL would be long-term.
“This a long-term partnership to make sure that Barbados is an exemplar for green growth and energy transmission. We are looking not just to import all of the things that are required for our energy transition but we are looking to partner with international entities to set up plants here in Barbados that would bring with it jobs, local production capacity and with it export. And once we are exporting then we are earning foreign exchange and that leads in turn to economic growth,” she said as she mentioned some of the benefits.
She intimated that the investment would be significant as she pointed out battery storage alone was more than $800 million.
“That is the kind of starting point. If that is just for storage and batteries that is one component but when you layer on top of that the manufacturing sector and the industrial sector overall and their own transitioning then you have a combination of investment capital that then needs to be rationalised and that’s what this work is about.”
The Minister emphasised that the intention was to distinguish Barbados from other jurisdictions around the world.
“Barbados is not just that nation that is looking for investment capital from large conglomerates or large MNCs. Barbados is also creating that carved out space for small investments where residential customers also have an opportunity, to invest in smaller systems not just in our homes but as part of democratisation of financing for larger projects, where there are meant to be carve-outs for individual power purchase providers who are then going to be able to have small investments in large projects.
“So there is democratisation of finance, there is democratisation of access and then there is large investment projects that we would want to be able to attract both local and global financing into Barbados in order to execute.”
In terms of utility companies, the minister further pointed out that they, too, had to upgrade.
“We have a commitment from the utility to engage in grid modernisation but my expectation is that the utility also needs to upgrade their modernisation plan, so that we are able to see as we are hearing, whether or not they are on the distribution, transmission or the last miles side of things but we do know that the grid does need to be expanded and it does need to be modernised. We do know that it was originally designed for a different purpose than is now being facilitated given Barbados’ very aggressive push into the renewable energy space … and now with the amount of solar PV that has been put onto the grid that most definitely is in need for urgent expansion and we are in active talks with the utility to make sure that we are able to get that modernisation plan rolled out and implemented.”