Barbados is set to receive approximately US $24 Million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in efforts to drive Barbados’ public sector smart energy programme. Of this US $24 Million, $7.6 Million is being made available through a European Union (EU) grant which would make it the first such facility to be made by the EU under the framework agreement with the IDB.

The Energy programme entails retrofitting twelve government buildings with Photo-voltaic panels , replacing streetlights with energy  efficient bulbs and in general increasing the public sectors’ energy efficiency. As a pilot project, the programme is also set to establish a Government fleet of electric vehicles with charging dock stations and its own solar power system. In addition, an energy smart fund for the private sector is currently in place with a mandate of targeting hotels and commercial businesses to incorporate renewable energy and energy efficient equipment in their ventures.

To date, approximately 90% of Barbados’ energy needs are met from imported oil. According to government statistics, the annual fuel import bill accounts to approximately 6% of the nation’s GDP which is comparative to government spending on education.

The long term goal under the Smart Energy Programme is to offset carbon emissions by approximately 132,000 tons which equates to a savings of about USD $45Million over the course of 20 years. It’s estimated that this reduction in dependence on imported oil could reduce consumers electricity bills by 15 to 20 percent.

“Both the private and public sectors of the country will be actively contributing to the achievement of the overall objective of reducing the country’s fossil-fuel dependency,” said Christiaan Gischler, IDB team leader of the Barbados Public Sector Smart Energy programme.

Excerpts taken from :, $33.3m loan for energy plan, July 06 2012