Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams says that as Barbados seeks to become less fossil fuel dependent there is still potential to earn money from offshore or onshore exploration.
The Minister made the point in a press conference yesterday, contending that Government’s goal is to use all of the country’s resources for its benefit, as he made it clear that does not mean those resources have to be used here. His comments came as he stated that any local fossil fuel reserves can be used to earn money for the island.
“Let us use them in a way that the savings we get, or the profits we make can fund the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital]; can help families in need; can build schools. We just need to think differently and think of what makes sense,” he said.
He also stated, “We are looking at all of the options because it has to make sense at the end of the day for Barbados and Barbadians. I don’t want to say too much, but we are in discussions with Trinidad and in the fullness of time that will reveal itself. But we have to be able to exploit in a way that makes sense, what it is that we have, and while we might have made a commitment not to use fossil fuels here, even the discovery of a fossil fuel reserve, even if we choose to not use it or exploit it, there are ways to monetise that by having other developed countries paying us to not use it”.
The minister also noted that plans remain in the works to adapt the roles and contributions of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) and the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) to suit the country’s changing energy needs.
“BNOC and the related companies are quickly transitioning to energy companies, so you are going to see a rebranding of what are our oil and gas companies now to being energy companies, which also trade in renewable energy, which are into solar PV [photovoltaic], which are looking at wind [and] exploring ocean tech. The shift is not just with the Ministry, the shift is not just with us saying this is our policy, we are doing everything acorss the spectrum of our related companies to ensure the buy in. So very soon Barbados National Oil Company is not going to be the Barbados National Oil Company, and all the associated companies are probably going to fall under something called the Barbados National Energy Company, or a name that similarly reflects its commitment to energy as opposed to oil and gas,” he indicated.
Adamant that Barbados’ energy future looks bright and promising, he said many “exciting things” to help boost the energy sector are going to happen, and some have already started to come to fruition.
“I’m sure you’ve seen the replacement of all of the streetlights with the LEDs. If you drive around Barbados you are seeing more and more solar PVs popping up on government buildings. BNOC is committed to enfranchising Barbadians by putting solar PV on their houses to allow them to invest in the renewable energy development and to get some return from it, looking particularly at vulnerable houses. So people who might not otherwise be able to invest in solar PV, like single mothers or retired persons, they are looking to facilitate them… No Barbadian is going to be left behind in this energy revolution,” Minister Abrahams maintained.
With that in mind, he said Barbadians can look forward to the day when energy is not only being used to power our homes and businesses, but it is providing income for persons. “Picture a Barbados where you’re seeing some wind turbines, beautiful sleek wind turbines powering villages ...communities: where you have solar PV farms that residents can buy into and get a return on it; so you don’t just put money in the bank and get no return from it. So our energy future, is not just an energy future, it’s a business model for Barbados and Barbadians that we can have buy in and people can invest in the future of Barbados and get a tangible ... return from it,” he declared. (JRT)