Barbados pursues renewable energy cooperative

In a recent address at the Co-operative Societies meeting, the Barbados government highlighted the need for a renewable energy cooperative to be established in the country, to allow local ownership of renewable energy projects, among other benefits. The model proposed would allow Barbadians to have a 30 percent stake in all foreign-owned renewable energy, energy storage, and energy-efficient projects as well.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Patrick McCaskie said, “The Co-operatives Unit of the International Labour Office (ILO) contends that co-operatives for renewable energy are examples of proactive citizen initiatives aiming for implementation of alternative energy supply models. The ILO indicates that these initiatives not only result in higher shares of renewable energy, but simultaneously represent alternative business models with the individual citizen as main stakeholder and beneficiary, and this consequently challenges the predominant power of large companies that play an active part in the energy sector.”

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, told representatives of the Co-operative movement that if ever there was a time to invest in the renewable energy space in Barbados it is now.

He said that overseas entities have already shown interest. “People are trying to get in Barbados very quickly to take advantage of the current climate for investment in Barbados. But, we don’t want to look at the big businesses only; we don’t want to look at the major conglomerates; we don’t want to look only at people outside with lots of money who can afford to spend it in Barbados. It is the intention that in this new space, a certain percentage of all investments should be to Barbadians,” he emphasised.