ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard Electrifies the Caribbean

By amaloney

With an average daily production of 1000 barrels per day of crude oil and an estimated daily consumption of 9000 barrels per day, Barbados is a net importer of petroleum products. This leaves a shortfall for which the Government must use critical foreign exchange to purchase oil on the international market.


Since the onset of the global economic crisis and following recession, the price of oil has been subject to price volatility and wild market swings. In 2006 and the first half of 2007, the average price of a barrel of oil hovered around US$ 60. Speculation in the oil futures market pushed the price up to a peak of US$ 135 until the collapse of financial institutions in the USA in November of 2008. A rapid decrease in price to US$ 40 immediately followed, but has steadily increased over time. Today, the tensions in the Middle East and continued price speculation have again driven the price to over US$100.

Most Caribbean countries, which are net importers of oil, have been severely impacted by the increases in global oil prices as their electricity generation matrices are powered significantly by fossil fuels. This situation has negatively impacted the Caribbean countries foreign reserves, businesses competitiveness, and disposable incomes of consumers.

The energy generation matrix in Barbados is similar as it is fueled by approximately 98 % fossil fuel and hence, any increase in oil prices globally, directly impacts on the country.

The Government of Barbados and the private sector have voiced their concerns with the increasing oil prices. Energy officials indicate that approximately 6 % of the GDP which has been used to purchase oil is not economically sustainable. To this end, a national policy on sustainable energy is being developed and is projected to be completed by June of this year.

In view of strong international interest and its potential impact on industrial energy efficiency world-wide, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in July 2007, launched an initiative to support the development of an international energy management standard. Specifically, the initiative supports the ISO standard development process by raising awareness and ensuring that the issues and barriers facing policy makers, industry, and other concerned stakeholders in developing countries are taken into due consideration in the ISO process.

In February 2008, the ISO approved the establishment of a new project committee (PC 242 – Energy Management) to develop the new ISO Management System Standard for energy, ISO 50001. As of September 2011, ISO PC 242 membership consists of 47 member countries, including Barbados, and 14 observer countries. ISO 50001 Energy management systems — Requirements with guidance for use was finally published on 15 June 2011.


In support of the ISO Action Plan for Developing Countries 2011-2015 a  regional workshop on ISO 50001 Energy managementwas conducted by the ISO  in collaboration with the BNSI and CROSQ in Barbados during the 12-16 March 2012.

The workshop was attended by 47 persons from the following Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Participants from the industrial sector in Barbados indicated they were highly enthusiastic regarding its implementation as there exist the potential to realise significant monetary savings in the management of energy use. Participants from the various governmental agencies responsible for energy were also in high praise of the implementation of the standard which they indicate has the potential to reduce the national demand for energy, and hence foreign exchange expenditure on petroleum products which currently threatens many Caribbean economies. Of special note was the consensus that the ISO 50001 Energy management standard’s uniqueness allows it to address both the technical aspects of energy management and the business management aspects through the control and reduction of operational costs of energy consumption.

The first three days of the workshop included the participation of the industrial sector, governmental agencies responsible for energy and the National Standards Bodies. This was followed by a train-the-trainer component on the final two days. At the end of the week the following objectives were realized:

  • raising of the awareness and understanding among authorities and industry in the Caribbean about energy management and energy efficiency standards, business opportunities, existing best practices, implications and potential impact of the ISO 50001 Energy Management standard
  • raising of the awareness and understanding among authorities and industry in the Caribbean about energy management and energy efficiency standards, business opportunities, existing best practices, implications and potential impact of the ISO 50001 Energy Management standard
  • information about the requisites of the ISO 50001 standard
  • provision of a platform for specialists from industry, government and academia in the region to share experiences and discuss issues related to the implementation of energy management and the future ISO 50001 standard
  • enhancement of the capacity of the Caribbean National Standards Bodies of providing training on the standard in their country.

Organizations that recognize the importance of efficient and effective energy use to the long-term viability of a business can use the ISO 50001 Energy management standard to manage and control both energy consumption and cost in a practical way. The implentation of ISO 50001 is one key step towards achieving maximum benefit from process assessments and improvements, operational and maintenance changes, and advanced energy efficiency technology.

The regional workshop was sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency(Sida) and facilitated by the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).

The ISO 50001 Energy management standard is available for purchase from the BNSI.


Please review the attached presentation as well as the links below for more information ISO_50001_Presentation-May-16-2013-1 (7) - Posted on May 22, 2013

  • The following is a link to an indepth explanation and exposition of the ISO 50001 standard.


  • The following is a link to the LinkedIn Group that was mentioned in the presentation,