Barbados Water Authority going green
Nathan Hart, Project Engineer at the Barbados Water Authority
The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has embarked on a renewable energy project, funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to transform its operations and significantly reduce its energy costs.
The announcement was made yesterday morning during a press briefing at the BWA Headquarters in the Pine attended by the Minister of Water Resource Management, David Estwick. John Robert Caruso of MASDAR United Arab Emirates and representatives of the Energy Division.
BWA Project Engineer, Nathan Hart outlined the details of the two projects. The first is the establishment of a 500 Kilowatt (Kw) ground-mounted photovoltaic system at the Bowmanston pumping station in St. John. Hart said the project will see a 20 percent reduction in the BWA’s energy consumption and also reduce yearly cost by $500,000.
“This project is not just about cost saving but building climate resilience for the BWA, especially on the onset of stronger storms. We recognise that you can have as much PV [systems] but if it is that you are not able to pump water when the grid is down, then what benefit is renewable energy to a country?”
Hart explained the BWA energy bill has reached a whopping $1.8 million a month despite the continued fall in oil prices. He said the BWA is focusing on reducing reliance on fossil fuels and more on energy storage so they will still have the ability to pump and treat wastewater when the grid is down.
The second project involves a 500 Kw solar carpark at the Lakes Folly site in Bridgetown with the aim of charging a minimum of 12 electric vehicles.
“We want to transform the idea of electric vehicle parking, you can pay a dollar per hour and charge your vehicle. It’s like parking your vehicle in a gas station and filling it for free.”
Hart said the solar carpark will encourage the use of electric vehicles on the island and will be used to reduce the operational costs at the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant by about $40,000 a year.
Under the United Arab Emirates Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, Barbados will receive a grant for $50 million. The fund is being used to support renewable energy generation assets in the Caribbean, in line with the push for Barbados to capitalise on more renewable energy resources.