Whither The Wind Farm At Lambert's Plantation?

windfarmAll the attention in recent weeks has been the sour taste LIME has been creating in the mouths of Barbadians. Having said that we were impressed with the sexy 51 page booklet which LIME distributed in the Sunday Sun newspaper today. Must have cost a pretty penny to trot out the thousands of copies to stuff the Sunday Sun newspaper.

With all the attention on LIME the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P) flies under the radar, ever assured of its well-cultivated corporate image. There was a time when the Marketing Manager Mr. Stephen Worme was inclined to communicate directly to the BU family on matters raised, that stopped when we started to ask the hard questions.

Mr. Worme our communication channel is still open, feel free to challenge or expand if required.

Six months ago with the price of oil approaching USD150.00, BL&P undertook a PR blitz using the traditional media to sell their budding strategy of delivering alternative energy solutions. On reflection, the blitz was used to deflect public criticism by those of us who still believe that BL&P has been too passive over the years concerning its renewable energy program. Mr. Worme, the spokesman for BL&P has been quick to lecture Barbadians about the prohibitive costs associated with augmenting their fossil fuel dependency with wind, solar and the other forms of power generation.

The precipitous drop in the price of oil, some predict that it will fall to between 20-30USD by January 2009, coupled with the weak demand triggered by a global recession has made the development of alternative energy sources unattractive. Commonsense still dictates that Barbados should move quickly to allocate resources to build a renewable energy program. We should not be lulled into a sense that oil prices will remain below USD50.00 indefinitely. If the economies of the world are able to rebound within the next two years, the world will see a rise in oil prices as global demand for oil increases, and we have not factored the Peak Oil Theory in our calculation.

The world will follow with interest the outcome of a meeting between the oil producing countries scheduled for December 17, 2008. Many of these countries have developed budgets based on the price of oil hitting a minimum USD60.00 in a minimax strategy. The current low price of oil interacting with a slow-down in the global economies have created more than concern among OPEC countries. The point which our young Prime Minister David Thompson would have noted is the plan by President Elect Obama to aggressively pursue a clean energy program over the next 10 years. Do we see opportunities?

Why is it that the proposed Wind Farm at Lambert’s Plantation has been on pause since 2007? The BL&P has repeatedly pointed a finger at the Town Planning Department by indicating that they are waiting for planning permission to move forward. Why is it taking so long for the T&P department to approve the environmental impact study (part 1 & part 2) submitted by the BL&P? What are the obstacles blocking its approval?

The future development of Barbados should dictate to our leaders that building an affordable renewable energy program should move to the top of the priority list.

20 thoughts on “Whither The Wind Farm At Lambert's Plantation?

  1. But wasn’t the hold up caused by residents who spoke out against it at the town hall meetings held by T&CP and BL&P as part of the impact assessment?

    Wasn’t there this hullabaloo about the subsonic tones the blades create etc.?

  2. BL&P used to be a model citizen. You could call and get almost immediate response.

    Now they’ve hired all the people C&W fired. And copied C&W’s voicemail system.

    Try calling BL&P – and you’ll wait 15 minutes or more before an “operator” answers.

    But that’s now life in the modern world. It’s corporate evolution. Where no-one gives a damn any more.

    Incidentally, C&W’s broadband has been catastrophic all day today (Sunday.)

  3. If any one wants to know where the price of oil is going all they have to check are the price of oil futures contracts due for delivery in three years….. they are all pegged at more than $80.00 per barrel. Coincidentally, tonight on 60 minutes two segments were devoted to oil production in Saudia Arabia and the Saudis are not averse to spending huge sums of money to bring their vast resources to market. Apart from the technological feat utilized to bring oil from under tons of desert sand, two things stood out during the interview 1) it costs the Saudis two dollars to produce a barrel of oil; 2) they would like to see oil selling for $75.00 a barrel.

  4. The people complained about the siting of Greenland at the Scotland District location and did that stop the project? The people in St. Lucy have raised some concerns yes but the T&P still has to rule.

  5. Wind farms are wonderful, I know of several in the South West of England that are really successful, but you wouldn’t want to live next to them……. They do have a low humming sound, which personally would drive me insane.
    This is a small Island, the ones I know of are miles from anywhere and can be seen from miles away, the impact here would be a real ‘blot’ on the landscape. The South and the West coasts are just about wrecked visually anyway, shame there’s nowhere there they could go!

  6. Town Hall meetings, review of EIAs not so simple BU, sometimes good ideas SEEM good until u look at the feasibility and the potential impacts

  7. This is the point of this blog, if there is a red light on this project the people deserve to know. It would also place pressure on BL and P to come up with a different position. Every time we listen to Worme he talks about the EIA stuck in TandP.

    Are the people being hoodwinked as usual.

  8. Sundowner

    Loud noise (supposedly music) is a constant feature of Barbadian life and the majority Barbadians are not concerned with aesthetics nor the natural environment. Thus said there shouldn’t be a problem with windfarms. However as this issue does not directly involve food, drink nor sexual activity it will receive little or no attention.

  9. Peak oil still relevant? More than ever.


    Conventional oil is the stuff we’ve been getting out of places like Texas and Saudi Arabia for decades, and which made up about 86% of total global oil production last year. Until this past July, when oil prices skyrocketed to all-time highs, “conventional” oil production had been hovering between about 72.3 and 74.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) for about four years.

    Then there’s unconventional oil, which is generally considered to include low-grade resources like tar sands, oil shale, and ‘heavy oil’, plus even more logistically challenging resources like deepwater oil and polar oil. Some analysts talk about unconventional sources and use this broader umbrella to include natural gas liquids and biofuels.

    Unlike conventional oil, unconventional sources grew noticeably from 2004 to 2007 — and together, the total flow of both (sometimes collectively just called ‘liquids’) grew from about 83 mbpd in mid 2004 to about 86.5 mbpd in mid 2008. That’s paltry growth, however, compared to a relatively steady increase of oil production since the end of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s (excepting production decreases following the economic crisis of 1997 and the attacks of 9/11). Thus,

    Oil production is not decreasing yet — but it does seem to be plateauing. (And this happens to be exactly what’s expected in the years surrounding the actual peak of total global production.)


    Here’s where the distinction between conventional and unconventional oil is important. More unconventional oil becomes unprofitable to produce as the price of oil falls; $80 is a commonly cited cutoff point for some of the big tar sands projects, for example. Sure enough, we’ve heard reports of tar sands projects and even refinery projects being shelved or delayed since oil plummeted below $100 a few months ago.

    Now, remember that unconventional oil isn’t just a tap that we can turn on and off. It’s ‘unconventional’ precisely because it’s logistically more difficult to produce than regular oil. Putting a bunch of oil derricks on the Oklahoma flatlands is peanuts compared to developing a multi-billion dollar, state-of-the-art deepwater project that can extract oil from below many thousands of feet of ocean and seabed, and requires a small army of highly-trained engineers and geologists to operate. Some of the big deep-sea projects can take from six to nine years from discovery to regular production.

    So when these unconventional oil projects get shelved because prices are falling, they’re not going to suddenly start producing oil immediately when prices go back up. Meanwhile, we keep drawing on the world’s supply of conventional oil — which pretty much everyone agrees is very near peak since discoveries of conventional oil peaked back in the 1960s. When demand does rise again and prices go up, there’ll be that much less conventional oil available and the unconventional oil won’t necessarily be there to step in right away.

    Indeed, some commentators have said that peak oil will turn out to have been July 2008 at ~87 mbpd, for the simple reason that by the time the global economy demands more than 87 mbpd it’ll be prohibitively expensive to deliver that much, and both demand and ‘supply’ (flow) will be forced back down. Thus,

    The peak oil concept is more relevant than ever, because it warns us that the current low prices (that is, the oil supply glut) are only temporary.


    A parting thought from Tom Whipple from the December 1st edition of Peak Oil Weekly Review:

    It is starting to dawn on many that, should oil prices and demand remain low for an extended period, new investment in oil production will fall to such an extent that, with worldwide depletion, now thought to be in the range of 5 to 6 percent a year, there simply will not be enough new oil to power an economic recovery.


  10. I was an engineer in my past life and am not recalling everything that could be pertinent to this matter. HOWEVER noise from the rotors WILL cause a disturbing annoyance.

    If ‘truth’ be told…. we do not have enough isolated space to have a wind farm on shore. The only place and perhaps the best place could be offshore. Perhaps there would be a high cost factor in setting that up and perhaps? it may not be viable.

  11. If viability because of noise pollution is the issue then the Town Planning should let BL&P know what the deal is and let us move to the next stage.

  12. David:

    Technology and blade design have moved on, there is negligible low resonance noise from modern turbine blades.

    If we are to be seious about alternative energy then let’s talk facts, not opinions.

  13. @ST… I agree *deeply* with what you say.

    But what BU.David says is equally valid.

    If the hold up is with “Town” (how funny is that!) “Planning”, should not “Town” (FOTFL) “Planning” not expediently give a *PUBLIC* answer?

    Then perhaps we can move on…

    (Anyone want to open a book? Better odds than the Lottery….)

  14. GreenMonkey mentions some very salient points in my opinion. With the reduction in investment in oil infrastructure, it will simply be much more difficult in the future to build an economy based on oil. So we may as well start working on getting the alternatives going. We do have an abundance of sunshine and when we apply energy conservation measures at home it is not inconceivable we could power our homes using Photo Voltaics. We have enough knowledge in Barbados to start doing this and with the right incentives.

    The longer we rely on fossil fuels the harder our future will be.

  15. my source in BL&P tells me that Town Planning has said NO. This effectively kills the project.

    NIMBY strikes again.

  16. @Insider: “my source in BL&P tells me that Town Planning has said NO. This effectively kills the project.

    NIMBY strikes again.”
    Does Town Planning supports renewable energy or just simply can’t find some alternatives for BL&P company to find a deemed location to put the howlers in place.

    No wonder this good issue was put on the mute button for quite a while.

    The Sabotage is in progress… 😛

    @CatScan: “GreenMonkey mentions some very salient points in my opinion. With the reduction in investment in oil infrastructure, it will simply be much more difficult in the future to build an economy based on oil. So we may as well start working on getting the alternatives going. We do have an abundance of sunshine and when we apply energy conservation measures at home it is not inconceivable we could power our homes using Photo Voltaics. We have enough knowledge in Barbados to start doing this and with the right incentives..”

    These are viable and must be tapped into if Economics is to survive and reduce some of the dependency on oil to drive the generators of homes and save some headache of the BL&P usual bills.

    From a perspective you can build a solar-powered or even wind-powered system if have the affordability and the right tech to build it.

    I’m not sure building a wind-powered project for your home is good or bad. Well, ugh why not?

  17. This is not directly related to the topic under discussion in this thread. Nevertheless, since it deals with economics it touches many different aspects of our lives, including the issue of energy and the environment.

    Here is some information that I recently came across that just blew me away. We probably are all aware that it is just generally accepted knowledge in mainstream thought that economies must keep growing to be viable, and therefore, we are told, the idea of having a steady state economy is impractical and not even worth considering as steady state economies would not be able to provide the jobs we need and the goods and services that we all need and have come to expect.

    Intuitively, to many non-economists (like myself), it doesn’t seem to make sense that you could have perpetual (i.e. infinite) growth in a finite world. But economics is different from personal experience we are told, and increasing efficiencies in the economy, substituting one material for another scarcer material etc. can allow growth to go on forever.

    However, according to an article on the Scientific American magazine web site, the economic theories as espoused by modern day economists, have their roots in a flawed application of equations from a now abandoned 19th century branch of physics to economic matters.

    What happened, according to the SA article, was that in the mid-19th century, fledgling economists, who were actually trained as engineers, were attempting to establish economics as a scientific discipline similar to the hard sciences like physics and chemistry etc. and they took these now abandoned physics theories and equations and misapplied them to economic matters by substituting economic variables for physical variables in the equations, so they could claim that economics was now based on science.

    They were warned by scientists at the time that they were going off track and their work lacked validity. However they ignored the criticism and forged ahead with their project anyway and founded what became known as neoclassical economics – which remains the basis for much of the economics taught in schools and universities and promoted in the media.

    Here are some snips from the SA article:

    Brother Can You Spare a Planet? Economics and the Environmental Crisis

    By Robert Nadeau

    The causes of the environmental crisis may be hugely complex, but the most effective way to deal with it in economic terms seems rather obvious. We must use our best scientific understanding of how environmental problems can be resolved as the basis for implementing scientifically viable economic policies and solutions. If this could be accomplished within the framework of the economic theory that we now use to coordinate economic activities in the global market system—neoclassical economics—there would be no cause for concern. But as this discussion will demonstrate, there is a large problem here that should be cause for great concern: Neoclassical economic theory is predicated on unscientific assumptions that massively frustrate or effectively undermine efforts to implement scientifically viable economic policies and solutions.


    The Origins of Neoclassical Economic Theory

    In economics textbooks, the 19th-century creators of the economic theory now used by mainstream economists (Stanley Jevons, Leon Walras, Maria Edgeworth and Vilfredo Pareto) are credited with transforming the study of economics into a rigorously mathematical scientific discipline. There are, however, no mentions in these textbooks, or in all but a few books on the history of economic thought, of a rather salient fact: The progenitors of neoclassical economics, all of whom were trained as engineers, developed their theories by substituting economic variables derived from classical economics for physical variables in the equations of a soon-to-be outmoded mid–19th century theory in physics. (2)

    The physics that the economists used as the template for their theories was developed from the 1840s to the 1860s. During this period, physicists responded to the inability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the phenomena of heat, light and electricity with a profusion of hypotheses about matter and forces. In 1847 Hermann-Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, one of the best known and most widely respected physicists at this time, posited the existence of a field of energy that could unify these phenomena. This proposal served as a catalyst for a movement called “energetics” in which physicists attempted to explain very diverse physical phenomena in terms of a vaguely defined protean field of energy that fills all space.

    The strategy used by the creators of neoclassical economics was as simple as it was absurd—the economists copied the physics equations and changed the names of the variables. In the resulting mathematical formalism, utility becomes synonymous with the amorphous field of energy described in the equations taken from the physics, and the sum of utility and expenditure, like the sum of potential and kinetic energy in the physical equations, is conserved. Forces associated with the field of utility (or, in physics, energy) allegedly determine prices, and spatial coordinates correspond with quantities of goods. Because the physical system described in the equations of the theory in physics is closed, the economists were obliged to assume that the market system described in their theory is also closed. And because the sum of energy in the equations that describe the physical system is conserved, the economists were also obliged to assume that the sum of utility in a market system is also conserved.


    Several well-known mid–19th century scientists told the economists that there was no basis for substituting economic variables for physical variables in the equations of the theory in physics. But the economists did not appreciate how devastating this criticism was and proceeded to claim that they had transformed the study of economics into a scientific discipline comparable to physics. In what is surely one of the strangest chapters in the history of Western thought, the origins of neoclassical economics were forgotten, the claim that neoclassical economic theory is scientific was almost universally accepted, and subsequent generations of economists disguised the existence of the unscientific axiomatic assumptions in this theory under an increasingly complex maze of mathematical formalism.

    This misalliance between economic thought and a 19th-century physical theory explains why the neoclassical economic paradigm is predicated on the following unscientific assumptions:

    * Market systems exist in a domain of reality separate and distinct from other domains.
    * Capital circulates in these systems in a closed circular flow between production and consumption with no inlets or outlets.
    * The lawful dynamics of closed-market systems legislate over the behavior of economic actors, and the actors obey fixed decision-making rules.
    * The dynamics that operate within closed market systems, if they are not interfered with by the external or exogenous agencies such as government, will necessarily result in the growth and expansion of these systems.
    * Market forces will resolve environmental problems via price mechanisms, along with more efficient technologies and production processes.
    * The resources of nature are largely inexhaustible, and those that are not can be replaced by other resources or by technologies that minimize the use of the exhaustible resources or rely on other resources.
    * The environmental costs of economic activities can only be determined by pricing mechanisms that operate within closed market systems.
    * There are no biological or physical limits to the growth and expansion of market systems.


    For some more food for thought re. steady state vs. perpetual growth economic models try :


    I like this quote from the FAQs at http://www.steadystate.org myself.

    Remember: to think there is no limit to growth on a finite planet is precisely, mathematically equivalent to thinking that you may have a stabilized, steady state economy on a perpetually shrinking planet. Both claims are precisely, equally ludicrous!

    From the way things are panning out in the world today e.g. peak oil approaching, fish population declines, resource wars in the Middle East and Asia (Afghanistan was invaded over getting control of pipeline routes, 9/11 Osama and the Taliban were just the convenient excuses), water shortages, pollution affecting more and more once pristine areas etc., it seems to me that Mother Nature is finally stepping in to let us know that, whether it suits us or not, or is convenient for us or not, or complies with our economic theories or not, we do live in a finite world with finite resources and we better learn to live within the bounty she provides or face the consequences of overshoot, i.e. economic collapse, environmental degradation, starvation, diseases and even a die off which will reduce our numbers to a more sustainable level.

  18. Whether you believe God created the heavens and earth on his first day at work, or alternatively a singularity experienced a big bang, in both scenarios we must presume our universe is finite.

    However in the practical terms of resource depletion, for all our intents and purposes it can be considered boundless.

  19. Centipide is in the right here a wind farm is a great idea for our windy island and placed off shore the noise will not be a problem .
    The waves themselves make a considerable crashing sound anyway.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.