<i>By IDB News</i>

The IDB has approved a $70 million loan to help Barbados reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by diversifying its energy matrix, promoting sustainable energy sources, and supporting power saving efforts, expected to save 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2029.

The operation, the second in a series of two programmatic loans for the sector, will support policy and legislation moves aimed at promoting renewable energies as well as the rational and efficient use of fossil fuels.

As a result, Barbados is expected to reduce its electricity consumption by 19 percent by 2029.

Greater efficiency will also enable Barbados to cut its oil import bill by about 30 percent over a 20-year period, yielding cumulative savings of approximately $600 million. This could have a dramatic economic impact on the population at large, as soaring prices of oil used for power generation mean that Barbados residential users currently face one of the highest electricity rates in the world—$0.30 per kilowatt hour.

Under the plan, the country will aim to have 29 percent of electricity consumption come from renewable sources such as photovoltaic, solar water heating, wind, biomass cogeneration, and waste-to-energy projects by 2029.

The program will also advance plans to promote the use of biofuels by blending ethanol with gasoline, encourage the use of natural gas as a substitute for other types of fossil fuels, and replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient alternatives.

The program will enable Barbados to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2029; it will support energy sector climate-change initiatives; and will help fund institutional strengthening, public education and awareness, and capacity building drives to promote sustainable energy and conservation initiatives.

The loan is for a 20-year term, with a five-year grace period, and at a variable interest rate based on LIBOR.

<i>For more information read the SIDS Policy & Practice news article and IDB Press Release.</i>