CoopEnergy – Response to Coop Concerns

CoopEnergy has no authority, and no interest in ‘making decisions’ about the investment of Credit Union funds in this project.

We welcome the intervention by our brother Ashton Turney, who have raised a number of concerns that we are sure have been echoed by others in the co-operative sector.

The Co-operative Movement represents a unique organizational concept that operates on seven principles of open membership, member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, member education, cooperation among cooperatives, and community concern.

When CoopEnergy was conceived and registered back in 2019, it was by a number of highly respected and experienced leaders of the sector who all fully appreciate the concerns raised by Brother Turney.

Then president of the League, Mr Hally Haynes was chairman of the Steering Committee and that committee included other former officers of the league as well as current leaders of other co-operative societies, who all fully understand the concerns raised, and who therefore took
deliberate actions to resolve those concerns.

Read full reply from Chairman Trevor Browne of the Cooperative Coalition

36 thoughts on “CoopEnergy – Response to Coop Concerns

  1. It seems the big takeaway from Chairman Trevor Browne’s clarification statement, until we get sight of all the details of the pending agreement serious public comment is premature?

    • It boggles the mind why a veteran credit unionist in the name of Turney would turn to the Nation newspaper to issue comments BEFORE reaching out to Browne and principals at CoopEnergy.

  2. Weee art with thee.

    You seem to be at the very juncture faced earlier when some of us were fighting to buy the first building on Broad Street with naysayers coming from all sides.

    However, may we remind you that the cooperative model as so structured is not in any way the sole structure there is.

    Indeed, we would suggest that the Barbados Model, which is pervasive elsewhere, may be causal for the reason you are fighting a battle which should have been long won.

    For example, you could look to the Mondragon Model to provide a wider epistomological birth.

    Mondragon, started in the Basque Región of Spain, in the 1920s by a priest and six or seven parishioners is one of the largest ” Cooperative Corporations” and one of the largest organizations in the world, employing over 100,000 people who are its owners.

    Of course, they are now global in scale, scope – México, for instance.

  3. @Blogmaster:

    What has happened to the Andrews Factory Renewable Energy project which the loquacious former Minister of Agriculture Estwick used to trumpet as the Saviour to the sugar-cane fields and with the potential to generate 25 Megawatts of “clean” energy thereby saving millions in scarce foreign exchange?

    We can only support the Colonel and wish that the current venture (minus the River Tamarind scam in the Belle) will be more than a stillborn reincarnation of the Andrews Factory pipedream and will bear some much needed fruit in order to save the country from economic bankruptcy.

    • Talk talk talk…

      Renewable energy goals

      THE BARBADOS NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY (BNEP) is not a secret document. It is available on Government websites including the Ministry of Energy’s. The plan is designed to achieve the 100 per cent renewable energy and carbon neutral island state transformational goals by 2030.
      These objectives include the provision of reliable, safe, affordable, sustainable, modern and climate friendly energy services to all residents and visitors; zero domestic consumption of fossil fuels economy wide; and export of all hydrocarbons produced both on land and offshore.
      The other goals are maximising local individual and corporate participation in distributed renewable energy generation and storage; minimise the outflow of foreign exchange; and create a regional centre of excellence in renewable energy research and development. These are all worthwhile objectives, but achieving them by 2030 was always going to be a major challenge. Some pessimists would say it was an unrealistic target, but even if the country achieves 50 per cent renewable energy over the next six years that would be outstanding.
      One major issue everyone involved in the energy sector, especially the provision of electricity, will have to overcome is storage. This means a need for proper planning and execution by key stakeholders including the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL& P), its regulator the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), the Ministry of Energy, and renewable energy investors.
      It is critical that with Barbados’ renewable energy sector largely based on solar and wind power, both intermittent sources of energy, storage issues be urgently resolved.
      It is now nearly a year since BL& P director of asset management, Rohan Seale, revealed that the electricity grid’s capacity to accommodate renewable energy was nearing its capacity. He reported during the FTC hearing on BL& P’s application for an electricity rate increase that the company was in the process of procuring 45 megawatts of battery storage to mitigate the challenge.
      Seale said in October last year that there were 74 megawatts of electricity produced from renewable energy sources on the electricity grid – 64 from private entities and ten from BL& P’s solar farm in Trents, St Lucy. The challenge as identified by him is that the electricity grid was in the vicinity of the 70 or 80 megawatts that was identified in a study as the level that would allow the system to operate safely without mitigation.
      In June, the FTC announced it would be implementing a four-year pilot programme aimed at gathering relevant data on the functioning of storage systems and their ability to provide services to the electricity grid. The pilot will focus on the use of battery energy storage systems of four, three and two hour durations, with a total allocated capacity of 50 megawatts.
      A lot will hinge on Government policy and the outcome of the motion to review and vary which BL& P filed against the FTC’s February 15, 2023 decision on its electricity rate application. What is clear, however, is that the country’s failure to urgently deal with renewable energy storage issues has the potential to derail the energy transition and the BNEP’s worthwhile objectives.
      One major issue everyone involved in the energy sector, especially the provision of electricity, will have to overcome is storage.

      Source: Nation

  4. I may not be able to provide a comment full of technical points, but here is what interest me.

    Does CoopEnergy provide an opportunity for the average Barbadian to invest a few shekels?

    As we do not have a stock market and very few avenues of investment, I am hoping that this is an avenue where Joe Average can invest a few dollars and reap a reward.

    All these big hotels and building expansions seem to offer little to Joe Average. Indeed, all Joe gets is promised and more restricted access to beaches. Joe can turn down bedsheet but is never qualified for higher level jobs.

    Is CoopEnergy an opportunity for the average Barbadian to invest a few shekels?

    • From my little understanding investment would have to be through being a member of the co-op or one in the union.

      I don’t like the idea of providing share to the general publics as it may end up like Barbados shipping and trading, bnb , bl&p etc

  5. Let me introduce a discordant note here, instead of joining the choir.

    Oldsters like myself are very cautious. We can accept a level of risk but we do not walk blindly into situations. I want information given to me upfront. Assume (safely) that I am ignorant and need to be educated and wooed.

    Not only must TB demonstrate his expertise in the energy sector, but he (or his organization) needs to make potential investors (the Average Joe) feel comfortable and knowledgeable (from money in to money out).

    As you can see, my grasp of this matter may be very limited, but my grasp of my two pennies is tight. Mr TB has to bridge that gap.

    Have a great day.

  6. @TheOGazerts,

    I intend to invest bds15 thousand dollars in CoopEnergy if I live.

    That is money I intended to spend to attend a G G concert in Europe but that is no longer possible.

  7. Good morning,
    For clarity, let me explain that The Barbados Sustainable Energy Co-operative Society Ltd is a formal, independent, registered co-op society, registered under the Co-op societies Act of Barbados.
    Any Barbadian individual, (or formal organization) can become a full member of the Society.
    Once becoming a member, Investments at whatsoever level the member can afford may be made in the Society by way of shares, and / or, by way of term deposits in specific investment projects which are available for uptake by the Co-op.

    -It cost just $100 to join CoopEnergy.
    -Shares are valued at $100 per share.
    -Term Deposits can be of any amount which the member can properly afford.
    -Available investment memoranda can be reviewed on the website.

    For John2, As a cooperative, there is no danger of CoopEnergy ‘ending up like BS&T’.
    On the contrary, with each member having one vote (independent of their share holdings) there is no opportunity for major shareholders to make such decisions.
    Additionally, no single investor is permitted to hold more than 20% of the total asset value of the Co-op.

    So Hants is invited to join our existing Canadian members by visiting our website and completing the membership process right now – so he can start collecting 4% interest on that $15,000.

    • Investor confidence in the domestic market is very low but there hope.

      Many with savings earning negligible returns from financial institutions plus eroded confidence in government securities post debt restructure, has created an opportunity for a solid well put together investment vehicle to soak up pent up investment dollars.

      The blogmaster awaits a detailed analysis and report to assist interested investors to make an informed decision.

    • We are on the same page. My second paragraph was more or less saying I prefer ur way the the “stock market” kind of shares

    • I hear Jeremy Stephen on air liking the opportunity for investment from CoopEnergy but lack of expertise supporting the project is his concern.

  8. Great job TB. (Grade A)

    I was about to suggest that you provide a link to the website in all of your responses. I see that you gave the link in your second mention.
    Upgrade to A+ (final grade)

  9. My Dear Hants
    Knowing your great love of music and beautiful women, I do not know how to treat your cancellation of your European trip.

    I believe it is safe for me to (1) assume that you still love music
    (2) still self identify as a he and (3) still love beautiful women.

    I hope that whatever is troubling you is easily and soon remedied.

    My kind thoughts are with you.
    My Dear Hants I was going for a he, them and they post but love and respect stopped me.

  10. @ TheOGazerts,

    I still have a great love of music and beautiful women but I am not a very energetic 71 year old.

    Too besides my net worth is below bds $140k

    • @Trevor Browne

      The following was posted to the blogmaster’s facebook page.

      Dr Roland Clarke
      As this story about Co-op Energy begins to unravel, I am surprised that Lt. Col. Browne would release information to the general public before a Cabinet decision has been made.
      I am also surprised about the explicit reference to persons of African decent in the Co-op’s plan.
      I assert that I as an internationally recognised energy expert, and a citizen and resident of Barbados, was not consulted or even made aware of this new development concerning sugar cane-to-electricity here in Barbados.


      Roland R. Clarke, PhD SMIEEE CMVP CRE
      Energy Engineer of the Year, Latin America Region 2019, Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), Atlanta, Georgia USA

  11. I am not quite sure why Mr Stephen, a member of staff of our university that claims to be among the top global institutions, would be concerned about a lack of expertise when so many graduates of UWI are available to us, in so many technical areas.
    But even if he is aware of some special weakness in this national human resource, Mr Stephen can rest assured that, as members of the global institution called the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) through the Barbados Co-operative Business Association, we have direct access to the highest quality technical and financial support resources that are available anywhere.

    A bit of research will quickly show that some of the largest and most successful electric utility operations in existence globally, are co-operatives; are members of ICA; and offer fraternal cooperation and support for other cooperatives such as CoopEnergy Barbados as needed.

    Honestly, the only thing that we have to fear with this initiative, is the inherent fear of taking control of our own future, rather than hanging on to the coats of strangers. Cooperatives provide an ideal platform for such a transition to true independence.

    Dr Roland Clarke’s concerns are also noted.
    However it is to be said that CoopEnergy is not a member of Cabinet, nor are we familiar with, or subjected to their various protocols.

    The statement issued is a direct status update for CoopEnergy members, to whom the Board of Directors has a duty to report our activities, and from whom we must obtain the mandate to proceed.
    After long months of discussions – including in-depth meetings with various co-op leaders, it became necessary to update the general membership, least misleading rumors take hold and confuse the situation.

    The follow-up questions and discussions also represent the true strength of cooperatives, and reinforces the transparency, education and openness that guide our business approach.
    We fully respect the fact that Minister Weir is obligated to follow Cabinet protocols as outlined by Dr Clarke.

    An observer of Dr Clarke’s experience should also be able to deduce that the reference to persons ‘of African descent’ in the publication he referenced, is a clear editorial prerogative, and is not a quote from our statement, or of our spokesman.

    We appreciate the opportunity to clarify these points that have been raised.

  12. @trevorbrown
    I fear that many, due to the behaviour of both public and private entities, have forgotten, or been intentionally misled, as to what constitutes transparency, accountability and fiduciary duties.

    • We have also noted that type of behavior in society.
      However one of the most attractive aspects of the Co-operative movement is its structure, which is such, that such behaviors are quickly and easily quelled by ordinary members.
      As a result, both those leaders who are committed to transparency and openness, as well as those who would prefer to be secretive and to have hidden agendas, are constrained to be transparent and straight-up with members, even if for different reasons.
      The true Co-op strength is largely in doing the right things transparently, collectively, and cooperatively.

    • Draft Bill feedback deadline extended
      THE DEADLINE for submission of comments on the Draft Electricity Supply Bill, 2023, has been extended to September 29.

      Members of the public may access the draft Bill by visiting the website of the Energy Division, Ministry of Energy and Business, at

      Comments should be emailed to,
      with the subject ‘Draft Electricity Supply Bill – Comments’.

      The Draft Electricity Supply Bill will regulate the generation, storage, transmission, distribution, dispatch, supply and sale of electricity in the newly democratised electricity market. It is designed to encourage local participation, promote transparency, and allow for competition. (BGIS)

      Source: Nationnews

  13. I grew up in the sugar industry.

    The biggest change I have seen is the disappearance of the peasant farmer.

    They owned their own land.

    I recall Trevor Rudder of BSIL making the point that they once supplied up to 20% of the sugar Barbados produced.

    Mostly all were of African Descent.

    Roland is correct to raise this. It is irrelevant. In fact the evidence as well as the logic shows the small farmers (of African descent) got out of agriculture first and converted their land to cash and concrete.

    I have access to the 1951 aerial photos and can see what happened to their land.

    It all became houses.

    They sold out.

    There were canes grown all through Eagle Hall and Bank Hall in 1951!!

    Today, whole plantations have been dismembered and sold out for housing.

    Go look at Google Earth and you will see the number of houses where fields once existed.

    Government is not serious about agriculture but it doesn’t appreciate that we ran out of water to allocate to new housing units since the mid 90’s.

    Converting fixed assets to cash can only go on so long even though it augments the wealth of the politicians.

    Check these reports from BAMC and look at the acreages.

    Remember, Barbados is 106,000 acres!!



  14. This wholesale push to replace fossil fuel generators with alternative energy is folly and will only going enrich the the solar and wind sellers and installers on its way down a doomed path ultimately ending in a grid instability power crisis similar to what happened to Texas in 2021 when severe winter storms prevented their wind and solar infrastructure from producing resulting in the near total collapse of their power grid.

    For any power grid to remain stable it requires a certain amount of baseload that must always be available 24 hours a day. That reliability can only be provided by 24/7 energy generation systems like hydro, fossil fuel, or nuclear power.

    Attempting to replace baseload with intermittent energy sources like wind and solar will destabilize the grid sooner or later resulting in power outages like we experienced a few years ago when the grid was down for several days but would be down for weeks this time.

    • Where is the push to replace fossil 100%? Isn’t is more about diversifying to ensure we are not held ransom to speculators and potential disruptions to global supply chains etc and at the same time significant cost savings on our national import bill? There are also benefits to growing an emerging sector which is a plus compared to putting all of our eggs in the tourism basket. There is no line of busy that we get into that downsides will not have to be managed.

    • Wholesale converting farm land into solar farms is not the best use of the land and is not going to earn any foreign exchange and only reduce our energy import bill a little.

      Our push should be to develop ISO accredited food certifying test labs so we can grow, package and distribute certified organic pesticide-free agricultural products which are in very high demand the world over and will fetch premium prices.

      The added advantage is tourism will increase as well since tourists don’t want to leave one concrete high-rise jungle to vacation in another on a supposedly tropical island.

  15. @ Trevor Browne on September 5, 2023 at 8:05 PM said:

    “Honestly, the only thing that we have to fear with this initiative, is the inherent fear of taking control of our own future, rather than hanging on to the coats of strangers. Cooperatives provide an ideal platform for such a transition to true independence.”

    We admire, in all certainty, your absolute positivity in your FDR-like rallying call to Bajans who are sitting on their nest eggs of millions (and lying idle in their fast devaluing savings accounts) to turn them into ploughshares of wealth creation.

    This Garvey-like proposal for ‘real’ economic enfranchisement could save millions in forex and to help future generations pay back the hundreds of millions in foreign money owed to the IMF and other foreign loan-sharks the Bajan government has borrowed to finance a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption enjoyed by the current generation.

    The only challenge we can see in your way is the vexing question of the future of BL&P existing fossil-fuel burning neanderthal of a power plant at the Spring Garden ‘waste’ land.

    You can be your oil-barrel bottom dollar in management fees or dividends that Emera will not ‘walk away’ until its more than generous ROI from that oil burning ‘fossilized’ business is recovered within the initial time horizon.

    Maybe those recent threats of economic blackmail are some indication of the looming presence of what is in store for Bajan consumers; with or without your proposed Coop-Energy alternative to rescue Barbados on its current path of ‘Climate-Change’ Hypocrisy.

  16. Our current alternative energy policy is wrong and needs to be focused on

    1) Providing resilience at the domestic level by focusing on developing a standardized domestic solar energy power system with battery storage capable of partially supplementing the electric bill and providing power for critical needs like refrigeration, medical devices, lights and telephone/internet services during a power outage or natural disaster if the grid looses power.

    2) Farms and manufacturers should be given priority for grid tied systems to reduce their production costs to the lowest level possible.

    3) Leave the large scale energy projects with energy generation as their primary purpose the sole responsibility of BL&P and their partnership projects.

  17. @ CA
    Boss… without access to affordable energy, even food production (water and transport and storage etc) will be out of reach….
    Depending on others to provide your very basic energy source is perhaps the ultimate folly – as the Germans found out with Russian cheap gas…
    Like everything else, this whole energy shiite needs to be managed by people who know what the Hell they are doing… not by wishful thinking.

  18. @Bush Tea

    It seems to me the people who know are so focused on the novelty of increasing usage of solar and wind energy to reduce oil and natural gas consumption on the road to the carbon neutrality pipe dream that they are not properly acknowledging and factoring in the true costs of the limitations and instability inherent in wind and solar technology.

    The scientific facts are any uses of solar/wind other than the 3 points I highlighted will lead to an unreliable grid sooner or later. A fully controllable source of energy can never be replaced on a large scale by an intermittent, uncontrollable source of energy.

    • Bushie agrees fully CA…
      ..perhaps what drove the p.v. push was the chance to make a quick killing before the collapse and instability came. The top people must have known this was inevitable.

  19. If you look at the BAMC reports you will see that a large amount of land in the north has been released to Mount Gay.

    Mount Gay has to have local molasses so the only way is to grow the cane itself and let BAMC grind it to make molasses.

    It seems far more sensible to go this way than to consider the energy route.

    We would need to see how much land is needed to supply the molasses needs.

    I’ve put up a couple of links to Barbados Today about how to proceed.

    I found this one just now.

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