As Barbados is embarking on a process to convert its entire energy system from the basis of fossil fuels, namely mineral oil products, to a green energy supply based on domestic renewable energy sources, it is embarking on a transition process of the economy which will have very substantial impacts on many walks of life. Besides a massive reduction of Barbados’ green house gas emissions this transition can have positive impacts on environmental pollution and human health in Barbados through the reduction of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, VOC (volatile organic compounds) and particulate emissions from power generation, transportation including the energy consumption of cruise liners berthed at Barbados’ harbour and other energy uses like cooking.
These emissions can virtually be reduced to zero. At the same time the switch to domestic renewable energy sources can reduce Barbados’ exposure to the risk of fast changing oil prices as well as it reduces the high burden of fossil fuel imports on Barbados’ balance of payments by eventually reducing the imports of mineral oil products for energy to zero.
Although, some equipment for the generation of green energy will need to be imported, a ﬁrst analysis shows that the transition to a domestic 100% renewable energy supply can reduce net energy related imports by about 80% (based on fuel costs of 2013) (see Hohmeyer 2015, p.27). By the virtue of import reductions GDP (gross domestic product) will rise accordingly leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in the hands of Barbadians, which are presently spend on energy imports. This will result in a substantial creation of additional employment. By the same mechanism the tax income of Barbados’ government will rise due to the fact that much more taxable income stays in Barbados’ economy. Nevertheless, it has to be pointed out that most of the possible positive economic effects for Barbados’ economy will only occur to the extend that the new energy system will be owned and operated by Barbadian nationals or by international investors leaving the money earned with renewable energy production in Barbados’ economy.
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