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Date: 04 Mar, 2021
Source: Barbados Today

With the clock running down on Barbados’ goal of total reliance on green energy by 2030, a $90 million investment fund has been launched to kick-start carbon-neutral energy projects, under a partnership of two key donors to this country.

The Energy Smart Fund was first introduced towards the end of November 2011, with financial assistance from the IDB in the amount of $20 million (US$10 million), as part of an agreement for the Barbados Sustainable Energy Investment Programme.   

Now comes Smart Fund II, which is to enable the Government’s expansion of its own renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency, provide clean energy finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and expand the government’s electric vehicle fleet and charging infrastructure, according to a release from the IDB on Tuesday.

The project’s stakeholders recently participated in a five-day virtual workshop to support the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship which will be responsible for executing the programme, the IDB said.

The participants reviewed key topics such as project management, procurement, and communications in collaboration with IDB specialists as they drew up a strategy for the programme within its scope, time and budget, the bank said.

“These projects have promoted energy efficiency in public buildings, the expansion of renewable energy through the installation of solar photovoltaic systems in public buildings, the installation of efficient streetlights across the country, the financing of electric vehicles in public service fleets, electric buses for public transportation, as well as key sector studies for the country including a recent publication focused on the development of ocean energy technologies, and institutional support and capacity building.

“In addition to financing the expansion of important renewable energy infrastructure, technologies and technical capacity in the public sector, this new phase of the programme will replenish the funds of the financial facility to continue providing loans to small and medium enterprises to develop green energy projects.”

With Barbados pursuing a National Energy Policy of being a 100 per cent renewable energy and carbon-neutral island state by 2030, Theinhardt stressed the importance of leveraging concessional finance to support the transformation of the energy sector.

Speaking for co-donor European Union, Luis Maia, the EU Delegation to Barbados’ head of cooperation, praised Smart Fund II as an “excellent example of the transformational difference that can be achieved through partnerships among the private sector, international financing institutions, national and international public sector”

He added: “Such a national goal can only be reached through the unified efforts of all key stakeholders –policymakers, regulators, private sector and, most importantly, Barbadian citizens, who are the most important beneficiaries and actors in this process. Barbados can always count on the cooperation of international and regional partners like the IDB and EU as it works toward realizing this goal.”