The Energy Smart Fund, also known as The Smart Fund, is a national initiative funded and supported by the Inter-American Development Bank. Officially launched on Nov 28, 2011, by the Prime Minister of Barbados, in collaboration with the IDB and Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. (EGFL), the Fund is designed to give financial and technical support to Energy Efficient (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE) projects developed for Barbados.
But what are EE and RE projects or technologies?
- EE projects conserve the consumption of electricity or thermal energy by using energy efficient technologies, for instance, LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, variable speed devices among others.
- RE projects generate electricity or thermal energy by utilising renewable energy sources such as the sun, the wind, biogas or other renewable energy sources.
Simply put, green technologies, can slow down, reduce or stabalise the depletion of the earth’s natural resources as is the case of EE technologies or can capture and store natural resources for immediate use or for reuse at a later date as happens for RE technologies.
How does Barbados fit into the regional picture regarding these technologies?
Although Barbados is a small island state of only 431 square kilometres, with a population of approximately 280,000 people, it is rated highly among its Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) counterparts for its positive social and economic indicators. However, in terms of its energy usage, the island depends heavily on fossil fuels, as 90% of the electricity consumed is generated from fuel oil.
To redress this imbalance and to sustain the island’s very scarce natural and financial resources, the Government of Barbados made it a priority to promote the use of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies. This strategic decision will assist not only in reducing the island’s import bill, but will contribute to the national goals of sustainable development which include preserving the environment as the use of fossil fuel is reduced.
So again, what is the rationale behind launching the Energy Smart Fund?
The aim of The Smart Fund is to increase the use of feasible EE and RE technologies in order to reduce energy costs, enhance energy security and sustain the environment.
When some of these goals begin to take shape, it is hoped that Barbadians will be more conscious of conserving the island’s scarce energy resources and will utilise more renewable energy alternatives to power their businesses and homes.
As fund manager, EGFL ensures that The Smart Fund achieves one of its primary objectives of enabling cost effective sustainable energy solutions for Barbados.
The Smart Fund is therefore organised into a number of Facilities or components to ensure that businesses as well as homeowners benefit directly from the various aspects of the fund. EGFL manages five of these facilities.
The following is a description of the various Facilities:
The Technical Assistance Facility (TA) provides support and funding for pre-feasibility studies or energy audits to assess the technical and financial viability of the project.
The EE Retrofit and RE Finance Facility (EERE) is a Loan facility which provides low-cost financing to businesses to implement viable RE and EE projects.
The Pilot Consumer Finance Facility (PCF) is used to incentivise consumers to switch to EE consumer goods by offering cash rebates up to BDS$500.00 per purchase
Energy Efficient Lighting Distribution Facility (EEL) will allow for the distribution of free energy efficient (EE) lights to a limited number of residential customers of Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd. (BL&P).
A/C Rebate Trade-In Facility (ACRT) allows homeowners and businesses to purchase energy efficient air conditioners, as long as appropriate arrangements are made to dispose of the old units.
When all of the components of The Smart Fund work together as units of the whole concept of greening Barbados, the results ought to leave a legacy of which we can all be proud.