The Public Energy Smart Program is the first of its kind to see in Latin America and Caribbean to promote the use of electric powered vehicles by solar energy.

Country representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Joel Branski, outlined that as part of the programme, Government will create a small fleet of electric vehicles with charging dock stations powered by solar technology.

In addition, he outlined expectations that the island will retrofit all public street lighting with energy-efficient lighting fixtures and explained that the programme will also fund research studies on the feasibility of building and operating a tidal power plant in the island.

“It is expected that the combination of these measures will save the Government of Barbados at least US$45 million over a 20-year period and reduce CO2 emissions by 132 000 tons,” he added.

He made the comments before he signed off an agreement on a $34 million loan to support the programme yesterday at Government Headquarters.

Branski pointed out that with nearly 90 per cent of the energy consumed in Barbados coming from imported oil, any energy saving or fuel substitution would have a direct impact in terms of financial savings, carbon emissions reduction, the creation of fiscal space and the creation of jobs.

According to him, the IDB was committed to supporting Barbados with improving energy efficiency, promoting the diversification of energy sources and expanding the use of renewable energy.

“The Public Sector Smart Energy Program will support the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation measures in government agencies. The programme will also finance capacity building for government agencies, and public information campaigns so as to raise awareness about renewable energy and energy conservation measures. This programme complements the broad range of policies, programs and actions that Barbados is adopting to cut energy costs and reduce its dependence on imported fuel,” he added.

Exerpts from: The Barbados Advocate