Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, responsible for Energy and Telecommunications, Senator Darcy Boyce (centre) cuts the ribbon officially launching the Government's Electric Vehicle Pilot Project. He is cheered on by Joanna Edgehill, Megapower Limited (left); Permanent Secretary Division of Energy and Telecommunications, Jehu Wiltshire (second left); Representative of the IDB in Barbados, Juan Carlos De la Hoz Vinas (right) and Simone Rudder, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works (second right).

Expected move away from fossil fuel cars

It is anticipated that in the coming years there will be a marked increase in the number of vehicles on our roads powered by alternative forms of energy.

That’s according to Permanent Secretary – Division of Energy and Telecommunications, Jehu Wiltshire, who said Government is cognisant that if it is to achieve a significant reduction in the importation of fossil fuels into this country, the transportation sector has an important role to play. His comments came as he noted that 33 per cent of the fossil fuels imported into this island is absorbed by the transportation sector.

He was speaking at an event at Government Headquarters yesterday morning to launch Government’s Electric Vehicle Pilot Project, part of the US $24.644 million Public Sector Smart Energy Programme, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union.

“The energy policy has a planning horizon of 20 years, we are looking by 2037 to reduce the importation of fossils fuels by about 51 per cent, and if we are going to achieve that goal we really have to make an effort to focus on using alternative energy for transportation. So this really is the start of this effort and we expect that within the next few years there will be an exponential increase in the number of vehicles that are using alternative energies for transportation,” he said.

Wiltshire added, “I hope that these proceedings really motivate you in allowing Barbados to become a greener country.”

He made the point as he said the intention is for Barbados to become one of the most advanced green economies in the Caribbean region within the next few years. With that in mind, he said this pilot project is going to go a significant way in achieving that.

Meanwhile, Representative of the IDB in Barbados, Juan Carlos De la Hoz Vinas, said that the pilot project will be instrumental in making the public more familiar with the technology and is expected to achieve real savings for the Government. He spoke to the project as he referred to other initiatives the Bank is supporting in Barbados. Among those, he said, is a project concerning liquefied natural gas which he revealed is in the early stages of execution.

“We are actually working in three different areas which are complementary, which are creating synergies for the sector,” he said.

The IDB Representative noted that the Bank was also financing more than 20 local small and medium sized enterprises to retrofit their facilities to become energy efficient. He said that project has been quite successful and they intend to launch a new phase soon. (JRT)

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