BRIDGETOWN: Barbados’ energy sector will receive BDS$7.72 million (US$3.86 million) in funding from the European Union (EU).
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced the development last week shortly before signing the National Indicative Program (NIP) 2014-2020 with Head of the European Union Delegation, Ambassador Mikael Barfod.
Prime Minister Stuart said the sector had been identified for funding under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
“The overall objective is to support the government’s energy sector goals, as defined in the draft 2013 Government of Barbados Energy Policy,” he said.
The main elements of that policy include: increasing the share of economically viable renewable energy in Barbados’ energy mix; achieving savings in transportation and other non-electric energy uses; and increasing the sustainability and efficiency of fossil fuel exploration, production, transportation, storage, and use across all sectors.
“The specific objective is to support the recently commenced government pilot program for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in primary and secondary schools, thereby raising awareness, reducing energy costs, and securing a reliable energy supply for schools designated as hurricane or natural disaster shelters,” said Stuart. “Complementary to this will be a capacity building program for educators on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.”
Stuart said it was anticipated that the financing agreement relating to the 11th EDF would be ready for signature by early 2016.
Ambassador Barfod said the NIP represents the agreement between the Government of Barbados and the European Commission for use of resources under the 11th European Development Fund. He said BDS$12.81 million (US$6.4 million) had been previously committed to the sector through the Smart Renewable Energy Program.
“Our support under the 11th EDF will be for €3.5 million (US$3.86 million),” he said. “In the face of calls for graduation of countries based solely on GDP per capita, we recognized the inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States such as Barbados. This reality justified continued bilateral support.
“At the same time, our Agenda for Change approach calls for resources to be targeted where they are most needed and can be the most effective. In response, we have shifted to a more focused regional program and in so doing created the largest regional envelope for the Caribbean, with a total commitment to the region of €1 billion (US $1.1 billion).”
Barfod said Barbados was in an excellent position to benefit from their new programming thrust, including capitalizing on multi-country programs and new opportunities for blended financing options through the Caribbean Investment Facility.