Thursday 1 October, 2020

IDB fuelling energy sector upgrades before leaks

Finance Minister Chris Sinckler shakes hands with (right) IDB Representative Juan Carlos De La Hoz Viñas after signing the loan contract.

Finance Minister Chris Sinckler shakes hands with (right) IDB Representative Juan Carlos De La Hoz Viñas after signing the loan contract.

The government of Barbados is not waiting for gas leaks and disruptions before paying attention to the natural gas infrastructure.

Faced with costly challenges in the distribution of water, the Finance Minister said that a hard lesson has been learned from the water situation, and work will be done to ensure nothing similar occurs in the energy sector.

Therefore, proactive movements are being made by the government in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to ensure sustainability in the energy sector.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler told the media:

“The NPC (National Petroleum Corporation) been operating for many years, it is with a fairly aged infrastructure now and we don’t want to find ourselves down the road like we ended up with water, having to go in and spend even larger sums in emergency circumstances to do repair work, and rehabilitation work and replacement work under very tight and stringent circumstances.

“So we are taking this early opportunity now that we know we are moving into the stage where deterioration sets in and the potential for loss, of course, whilst water is a vital part of life, probably the most vital part, having a disrupted or defective natural gas can not only cause trouble with your economy, it could cause some potential other issues that could be devastating. So it is our remit as government and of course with the help of our partners to ensure that we don’t reach that stage and intervene now.”

Remembering the shortage of natural gas which occurred in November 2014 – April 2015 during the Winter season and impacting the tourism sector and it caused disturbances, he said that mindful of such, “this project would lead to a greater level of certainty,” in terms of boosting the capacity of network and the ability of NPC to distribute fuel once procured or discovered by the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL).

In addition, he shared that “the government’s vision for energy sector is to be sustainable, with natural gas being seen as the transitional fuel,” as they work ultimately to reduce the country’s carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions and tackle the high and volatile electricity cost which poses a threat to the economy.

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Overall, Sinckler assured that the programme aims “to enhance Barbados’ energy security and sustainability by diversifying the energy mix through promoting the use of cleaner fuels, specifically natural gas for power generation and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.”

The ink has dried on the loan contract for the Development of Cleaner Fuels and Renewable Energies in Barbados BA-L1012 (Loan 3843/OC-BA). The signing ceremony occurred yesterday evening at Government Headquarters in Bay Street. The contract was signed by Sinckler and the representative from the Inter-American Development Bank, Juan Carlos De La Hoz Viñas.

The signing follows the decision taken in parliament May 25, 2017, “that Barbados should enter into an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for a loan to finance the execution of a programme entitled ‘The deployment of cleaner fuels and renewable energies in Barbados’.

“The programme will be implemented over a six-year period at a total cost of USD$34Million which will be provided from the ordinary capital (OC) resources of the Inter-American Development Bank.”

The programme has three major components:

Component 1 – Upgrading the natural gas infrastructure USD$25.025Million

Component 2 – Smart energy solutions USD$3 350 000

Component 3 – Technical advice USD$4.050Million

Additionally, project evaluation will cost USD $75 000, while project management and monitoring have been allocated USD $1.5Million, to round out the USD$34Million total.

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