Ocean Energy Being Considered For Barbados

    BY JULIE CARRINGTON

    The Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship is considering having ocean energy technology operational on the island to contribute to the Barbados National Energy Policy target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

    To this end, the Ministry conducted an Ocean Energy Consultancy, from January 2020 to March this year, to explore the feasibility of pursuing alternative energy sources and to select the right mix for the country ahead of Government’s 2030 target.

    The consultants, ITPEnergised, supported by local and international experts in ocean energy, examined Fixed Offshore Wind (OSW), Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) projects around the island from a technical, environmental and logistical perspective.

    They also investigated the legal framework, local supply chain, connectivity to the electricity grid, tourism impact and conducted various financial and map analyses to determine practicality of these technologies in Barbados.

    The team also looked at wave energy, but concluded that this option was not suitable for Barbados, due to the level of unreadiness for this technology on a commercial scale.

    As part of the consultants’ preparatory work, they identified 16 possible ocean energy project scenarios. Of that number, six were selected and ranked in order of priority. In the end, the fixed and floating offshore wind turbine systems located off the north of the island were the preferred options.

    The consultants paid special attention to the island’s national parks, marine protected areas, turtle nesting sites, coral reefs buffer zones, the Grantley Adams International Airport and the exclusion zone, before selecting possible locations.

    Additionally, three tourism surveys were undertaken for residents, tourism operators and businesses, and hotel and accommodations to garner initial feedback on ocean energy technologies in Barbados. Over 280 responses were received from the surveys undertaken. 

    Although some initial resistance is expected to the technologies, there was no indication that they will be a deterrent to the tourism sector or locals after installation. 

    Responses showed that the further offshore, there was less resistance to installation of the technologies, and offshore wind farms may act as an attractive feature of a location, rather than a deterrent. 

    A stakeholder consultation was held recently to garner initial feedback on the consultants’ recommendations. Wider public stakeholder consultations will take place in the future to inform the general public.