The RE in RERE
BU commenter sirFuzzy posted the following comment to the blog Prime Minister Mottley Talks Digital @BITT Conference.
@BU David, may i suggest a blog on REnewable energy. it is a longer term focus but it is a good “RE” with almost guaranteed payback.
With the trade wars between China and US adding pressure plus USA potential backlash on any country buying Iranian crude; the price of crude oil is 70+ on the world market and rising. That is having a big impact on Barbados and our economic prospects e.g. tourism; and the energy we consume to provide services on the rock etc. Barbados runs on fossil fuels for the most part.
In the medium term will BNOC be able to get its crude processed if PetroTrin closes it refinery?
Some credit must be given to the former government and a few private sector players for developing the renewable energy sector. One of the few good initiatives the former administration may lay claim.
The benefits of diversifying the energy sector is huge for Barbados given the high consumption of fossil energy which has to be paid for with scarce foreign exchange we have been struggling to earn. Just look at the international reserves trendline of the last decade.
Barbados is described by the economists as an open economy most vulnerable to exogenous shocks to coin a term. It is not an export led economy therefore Barbados has to be ultra aggressive in rolling out initiatives like Renewable Energy to act as a buffer against the volatility of price movement in the oil market.
One of the reasons Prime Minister Mottley gave for allowing the country to slip into selected default (SD) was her concern that – as the hurricane season was upon us – if struck, it would precipitate a level of economic chaos given the falling foreign exchange reserves and high debt obligations to external creditors. She sought to get ahead of the the potential problem by negotiating debt restructuring with creditors. This was her call given her government’s 30 love mandate. Time will tell if it works out.
The BU community is insisting that she demonstrates a similar level of passion and leadership towards continuing to implement a relevant REnewable Energy program given the size of the national oil bill and the forex savings to be had supported by the need to diversify our energy supply. The environmentalists and others with commonsense might suggest it is a good ‘fit’ for a SID to adopt a clean energy strategy. We also have developments in Trinidad and Venezuela to be urgent about implementing a sensible energy policy.
No long term economic stabilization and economic plan for Barbados can be constructed without including a smart strategy approach to energy policy. Successive governments have adopted a lazy approach to deconstructing the oil sector given the money interest. EMERA, SOL, RUBIS need we say more? It is easy to tax the sector to prop up the treasury while prominent others are always able to influence the decisions of government in theirnarrow interest.
Ministers Wilfred Abrahams and Kirk Humphrey have been trusted with the responsibility for energy AND the Blue economy respectively. To date Abrahams has been consumed with plugging the holes in a leaking sewage line on the South Coast and Humphrey has been prolific in his visits to fish markets around the island while wearing nice suits. Time to leave those tasks to the others gentlemen and become more strategic to align with the pressing demands of state.The photo ops approach did not work for Esther Byer-Suckoo.
Mia Mottley has set the bar for her large Cabinet and supporting cast as to what is required. It is clear to the blogmaster who does not sit in Cabinet that she has done a reasonable job to articulate her vision for Barbados becoming ‘fit for purpose’ in quick time if we are avoid rivalling Zimbabawe in a race to the bottom.
Forget the RH histrionics and think RH instead.