Barbados pursues ‘Norwegian model’: going green at home and drilling for oil

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Joseph Lo (Climate Home News) writes, “The Caribbean nation wants its vehicles and electricity to be almost completely renewable by 2030 but supports oil and gas development for export.”

The Caribbean nation of Barbados is pursuing what a key official called the “Norwegian model” by exporting oil and gas while cleaning up its own cars and electricity production.

The government recently submitted plans to the UN to make 100% of its cars run on electricity or alternative fuels and to get 95% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“Our vision is that by 2030 most Barbadian homes will have solar PV panels on their roofs and an electric vehicle in their garage,” prime minister Mia Mottley said in December.

At the same time, the government is supporting two oil and gas exploration schemes in its Caribbean waters. One is with Australian company BHP and the other is with the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Climate envoy Hugh Sealy said the government planned to support oil and gas production but not use it domestically. He called this the “Norwegian model”. “If we find oil and gas offshore, we can’t ignore it but it cannot be used in our domestic economy,” he said.

Barbados’s updated climate plan aims to reduce the island state’s emissions, relative to a business as usual projection, 35% by 2030. This rises to 70% if it gets financial support from other countries. [. . .]

The plan involves pivoting rapidly from oil for power generation to rooftop solar and wind with battery storage. As of 2015, over 90% of Barbados’s electricity came from imported oil and World Bank data shows the price of electricity is 60% higher than the global average.

As well as the climate benefits, reducing reliance on oil imports has financial benefits, Sealy said. In an island exposed to hurricanes, rooftop solar power is more resilient than centralised generation distributed through power lines, which can be knocked over by strong winds.

The government hopes to launch a revolving fund, through which Barbadians are loaned the money for rooftop solar panels and pay back the government from the savings on their energy bill.

Sealy said that this pace of transition involved a cost premium of up to 30% compared to a natural progression towards renewable energy. “But we’re prepared to pay that cost premium because we recognise this something that we have to do.”

It would not necessarily lead to higher bills for consumers, he said, as that depended on oil price fluctuations, the pace of renewable cost reductions and sale of carbon credits. [. . .] For full article, see

Barbados seeks to lead in protecting coastal waters and the high seas
Pew Charitable Trusts, September 10, 2021

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