The Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) just hosted their 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elected its new Board of Directors for the period 2023-2024. The AGM was held at a critical juncture in the country’s renewable energy transition as the continued penetration of Solar PV onto the grid has signaled BREA’s long reiterated called for added storage capacity to support the 100% renewable energy policy objective. Without added storage capacity or resolving grid stability issues, Barbados’s renewable energy transition will come to a halt, the impacts of which are already being felt by industry players.
At the intimate gathering of this AGM, members learned how BREA worked over the past year on behalf of its colleagues to sensitize, communicate and present solutions on the issues that confront the industry. They also elected a new board and received the commitment of the incoming board of directors to continue the critical work needed in the year to come by advocating for members and collaborating with other stakeholders.
However, he cautioned that, with this transition now stalled, the 100% target by 2030 could be in jeopardy unless large amounts of energy storage are integrated into the grid very soon. Adding more capacity in a cost effective way is complex and will require huge investment by Barbados Light & Power and by other private sector developers in Energy storage and other generating technologies. The Barbados Renewable Energy Association has been leading the call for an integrated approach and for a transparent energy transition plan. The current regulatory environment must be stabilized and improved to support the level of investment that is required to meet the objectives of the Barbados National Energy Policy. Projects that are already planned and approved need to be completed so that owners, developers, investors, consultants, landowners, builders and suppliers – and their employees – are not negatively impacted.
There is therefore no “business as usual” path forward for the renewable industry in the coming months. There is a clear and present risk that Barbados will not achieve its target of 100% renewable energy by 2030. Fortunately, Barbados can still achieve its ambitions – but only if the industry commits to solving the intertwined technical, regulatory and financial issues that are currently retarding progress. Solving these issues require deep and coordinated collaboration between stakeholders. It also requires a sense of urgency and personal accountability from everyone involved. BREA has and will continue to be a leading voice in advocating and presenting solutions which overall support the development of the local renewable energy sector.
Mr. Goodridge also highlighted the progress that BREA made in the past year deepening its engagement with members through informative circulars and lively webinars all the while raising the Association’s profile through its encouragement of stronger collaboration between key stakeholders including the Ministry of Energy and Business, the Fair-Trading Commission, the Barbados Light & Power Company, the Barbados Bankers Association and the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and engagement with international institutions such as USAID, World Bank IFC and IDB.
BREA succeeded in adding twelve (12) new members, some corporate and some individual members, which has allowed it to further diversify its membership base to include representation from bio-energy, wind, finance, insurance and state-owned energy stakeholders.
Mr. Goodridge proudly reported that BREA advocated for its members through its participation on several committees, consultations and other initiatives. These included areas such as energy storage, grid stability, power purchase agreements, feed-in-tariff rate updates, interconnection cost allocation, local content requirements. The Association also participated as an intervenor in the Barbados Light & Power’s rate hearings and as a key stakeholder in the Integrated Resource and Resiliency Plan and the Energy Transition & Investment Plan.
He also said that the organization completed several initiatives to ensure that BREA remains sustainable and operates efficiently in the coming years. The AGM also gave members the opportunity to elect the board of directors for the coming year. Re-elected for another term were its President, Robert Goodridge, Vice President, Stephen Worme and Directors, Andrew Lord and Neilsen Beneby with Andrew taking on the role this year of Information Officer. Joining the Board this year were Mr. Richard Goddard, Dr. Benedict Henry and BREA’s former Executive Director, Ms. Meshia Clarke. This new mix of directors will allow BREA to follow through on existing initiatives while also bringing new perspectives to the organization.
BREA’s President thanked departing Directors which included Attorneys-at-Law, Ms. Nicola Berry and Mr. Aidan Rogers along with Mr. Rodney Greenidge for their outstanding service over the past year. Mr. Rogers is particularly commended for his 11 consecutive years as a BREA Board member.
Mr. Goodridge concluded the meeting by encouraging other sector participants to join as members of BREA to help strengthen its voice and giving members the assurance that the Association will continue to work tirelessly on their behalf to move the sector forward in the face of these challenges.
Further details regarding opportunities for engagement will be announced in the coming months.