Still seeking a solution


“NO quick fixes,” says Mark King, Managing Director, the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P).


Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the head office, he indicated, “There are no quick fixes to the issue of sustainability of energy supplies. Fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in the energy mix for the near term. 


“The very aggressive renewable energy targets contemplated in the draft Sustainable Energy Framework document produced for the Government of Barbados indicated that in 2029, over 70 per cent of the energy consumed would still be produced by conventional methods. Notwithstanding this, there is an obvious need for the country to look to alternative sources of energy.


“The company has taken a lead in this area, and with the approval of the Fair Trading Commission at our last rate hearing, we introduced the Renewable Energy Rider (RER) as a two-year pilot programme.


“The programme was designed to facilitate the interconnection to the grid of customers who install small-scale PV of Wind systems to offset their own use and may wish to feed any excess energy into the grid.”


As part of its strategic plan, he said, “The company is working on stabilising or reusing, if possible, the cost of electricity generation in Barbados. We understand the Government’s desire to create a future less dependent on fossil fuel and we are supporting the effort to diversify the energy mix in Barbados and facilitating renewable energy customers for interconnection to the grid. Barbadians want to see energy costs decline, however there is no silver bullet. This will take time, it will take a multifaceted approach, it is not just the PV systems, biomass project, wind energy, and it is all of those things that have to be developed.”


In the media, it has been stated that the BL&P is trying to stifle growth.


The Managing Director maintained, “We are not trying to stifle growth, but we are trying to ensure that the stability of the grid which we take for granted here in Barbados remains at the level we have. That is the principal reason for setting an upper limit; this limit is based on our research into island grids.


“We recognise that no two grids are the same, so the only way to be definitive is to stand up and be robust in your defence of the number that you are using is to get an independent expert to look at your grid. If the grid is unstable, the lights will go out.”