Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams (centre); Ambassador of the UAE to Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Representative of the UAE in the Association of Caribbean States, Bader Al-Matrooshi (right); and Ambassador of France to Barbados, Philippe Ardanaz (left) in discussion while in the background is the UAE/BWA solar photovoltaic project at Bowmanston pumping station in St. John. (S.Forde/BGIS)

Barbados is the first in the Caribbean to have successfully completed its United Arab Emirates (UAE) funded renewable energy project.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, called this “a truly extraordinary successful accomplishment”, as he delivered remarks today at the inauguration ceremony of the UAE/BWA solar photovoltaic project at Bowmanston pumping station in St. John.

Minister Abrahams said the UAE Government launched a US $50 million Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund in November 2017, and this partnership was an effort to assist CARICOM Member States “to reduce the high cost of energy, which has been identified as a primary barrier to growth”.

He added that the objectives of the fund are to “increase the use and resilience of renewable energy applications in the region, including related sectors such as water and waste…and to expand technical experience in designing, implementing, and managing renewable energy projects and to facilitate faster and lower-cost deployment in the future”.

The Minister of Energy stated that these objectives aligned with government’s goal of becoming a 100 per cent renewable energy efficient and carbon neutral state by 2030, and stressed: “We believe that we owe it to future generations to explore and develop alternative sources of energy that will allow us all to be energy self-sufficient.”

Minister Abrahams revealed that he was keen to collaborate with the UAE in the future on more projects, especially the use of renewable energy to power desalination plants.

Ambassador of the UAE to Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Representative of the UAE in the Association of Caribbean States, Bader Al-Matrooshi, in his remarks, congratulated Barbados on the completion of their project.

He noted that it was “a proud moment in the strong bilateral ties between the UAE and Barbados…[that] both the UAE and Barbados share a common vision of the important role renewable energy plays in accelerating sustainable development and bringing real benefits to local communities”.

Ambassador Al-Matrooshi also pointed out that water facilities consume a significant proportion of electricity in Barbados and the diesel savings from this solar PV project would have a direct impact in terms of cost savings.

He also took the opportunity to congratulate Barbados on the success of its gold-medal winning athletes at the recently held Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The UAE facilitated approximately BDS $7 million in grant funding to Project Managers MASDAR for the Barbados Water Authority’s supply and installation of a 420kW ground mounted solar photovoltaic farm, on 1.5 acres of land at the Bowmanston pumping station, and the supply and installation of a 350kW solar photovoltaic carport at the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant.

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