Barbados: Tropical Paradise Going Green

Besides encouraging the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, the Caribbean island-nation of Barbados is making a total shift away from a fossil fuel-based economy toward a green energy solution. Virtually every sector of the small country’s economic life will be touched by a series of government-sponsored programs that will create an integrated, renewable energy culture.

Early this month, the cabinet slated almost $200 million for a gigantic municipal facility that will produce solar energy, wind power, and include a waste-to-energy system as well as a landfill control facility. If all goes as planned, the new structure will have a total output of 25 megawatts of clean power, all of which will help cut the island’s reliance on oil and diesel fuel. Capping greenhouse gases has been one of the main motivations behind the policy from the beginning.

Right now, Barbados gets around 95 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, and the overwhelming majority of that amount is brought onto the island from other nations. Sadly, the country spends the same amount on imported oil as it does on education, but that is set to change after the new green initiatives get underway.

Informally, business leaders and civic groups in Barbados have been encouraging drivers to use electric and hybrid drive cars in order to minimize CO2 emissions. A so-called “perfect storm” of negative circumstances has propelled the Barbados governmental cabinet to oversee a societal and economic green push. Pollution has gotten worse during the last decade, as oil prices have risen steadily. Within several years, results should begin to show whether the effort is paying off. Most experts agree that the new plan is a definite step in the right direction.

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