MAKING PROGRESS – B’dos will soon benefit from Waste-to-Energy project

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PLANS for the Waste-to-Energy project, which the Barbados Government is pursuing, will be taking more shape come next month. A team of key investors connected to the Bds$550 million project will be in Barbados next month to further fine-tune plans for the project and for a series of meetings with top Government officials.

Ms. Clare Cowan, CEO of Cahill Energy which has lined up the investors for the project, was recently in Barbados during which time she brought The Barbados Advocate up to date on the plans.

She said that while the project at Vaucluse, St. Thomas will begin in earnest in 2018, some initial preparatory works have already started and that Barbados will begin to see the benefits.

Cahill Energy is a privately-owned company based in Guernsey and Ms. Cowan has been the CEO over the last three years.

Citing the background that has given rise to the need for the project, the Cahill Energy official pointed out that waste continues to accumulate in Barbados and that something had to be done to deal with that situation.

Barbados, she went on, spends an average of about Bds$850 million on energy imports. Furthermore, Barbadians were paying high electricity bills as reflected by the fuel clause adjustment, which is the single largest component determining electricity bills.

Although noting that oil prices have fallen, Ms. Cowan said that this is cyclical and eventually prices will increase once again.

“The whole point therefore about this project is to give Barbados energy security. If you look around the world, you will see that there are many countries focusing on energy security and do not want to depend on other States for energy,” Cowan said.

Clare Cowan, CEO of Cahill Energy, during an interview with The Barbados Advocate, earlier this week.
“So the economic offshoots for Barbados from this project are compelling,” the Cahill Energy official said.

She remarked that they at Cahill Energy had to prepare detailed reports on how the project will benefit Barbados.

“From those reports, they have concluded that Barbados’ energy import bill will be slashed by at least 20 per cent, there will be decline in demand for fossil fuels, the project will eliminate landfills, there will be savings for economic sectors and GDP will increase,” she told The Barbados Advocate.

She pointed out as well that some work will be subcontracted to local companies and that there will be significant jobs for Barbadians. Some specific jobs will be done by international experts.

Ms. Cowan said that Cahill Energy is a privately-owned Guernsey firm, which has confidence in Barbados. It is the first project of this kind to be undertaken by the company.

However, she acknowledged that a number of other companies are involved in the process. Technip is an international engineering firm that has done extensive work on the project over the span of the past two years and the company has already done a site visit at Vaucluse.

She also said that Stantec completed phase one of the waste study in February.

“We are committed to this project and working with the Government to deliver it to people of Barbados,” the CEO promised. She noted that the project is reliant on the continued co-operation of the Government and welcomed Minister, Dr. Denis Lowe’s confirmation that the Section 5 is imminent.

According to her, the investors due here next month will be meeting with Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe; Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler; Agriculture Minister, Dr. David Estwick; and Senator Darcy Boyce who has responsibility for Energy.

“When people see our success in Barbados, I think that will spur other investors to come on board and follow on with other investments,” she said, noting that her company is very excited about the plans.

This is a groundbreaking project built with world-class technology that will be showcased around the world.