BY: JANELLE HUSBANDS
BREA to host Town Hall meetings to discuss BL&P application
THE Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) has thrown its support behind the move by the Barbados Light & Power to store energy, saying it is one of the steps that will drive the country towards a 100 per cent renewable energy policy objective.
Top officials in the association hosted a press briefing in BREA’s headquarters in the Tom Adams Financial Centre yesterday morning, where they gave insight into historical background, the existing environment and the needs of the sector going forward.
Executive Director Meshia Clarke highlighted BL&P’s recent application to the Fair Trading Commission for the recovery of cost through the Fuel Clause Adjustment (FCA) mechanism for the integration of a 5 MW Battery Storage System at the utility’s 10MWsolar farm in Trent’s St. Lucy.
Clarke explained that energy storage has an important role to play and is a central feature in any developmental agenda which has renewable energy and energy efficiency at its core. She further noted that energy storage is critical in light of the variability of the earth’s renewable energy sources. “The storage of energy becomes an important component in the renewable energy mix.”
The BREA team noted that pertinent questions to be asked in regard to this application include: What will the move by BL&P to recover cost through the FCA and in proportion to the fuel saving benefits expected mean to customers? What will storage now mean for the customer, in terms for the cost requirements and potential savings? What does it mean for the longevity of the sector moving forward? What does it mean in terms of a potential new role for creation of job opportunities?
“These are all important issues that we stand ready as the association to discuss. We will be gearing up to execute a number of Town Hall meetings to be able to be at the forefront, engaging the public on what these issues mean ,”Clarke said, adding that the implementation of a separate mechanism which would now have to be developed, increasing the time frame for implementation, would also be up for discussion.
President Aidan Rogers does not believe that the cost will be passed on to customers as was assured by the BL&P.
“The mechanism that was identified in the application thus far seems basically as a setoff against cost-savings. So it is really a technical formula that will be introduced with respect to how they will recover the cost. What they are seeking to do is to recover the cost of this investment through the equivalent savings that would have afforded the operation of electricity system in fuel. So that is why they have identified the FCA at this stage as the mechanism.”
Rogers explained that with this model, the BL&P would only recover if the company can show that its investment in storage saved fuel consumption. “That is the mechanism that they are advancing in terms of the application. That is what all interveners will have to speak to as we go into the technical details but that is the basic principle that they are relying on in terms of how they recover the cost.”
“So if you follow that through logically, what it is saying is that there will be no extra burden on the backs of customers because a cost only comes when it displaces what is currently in existence. That is a setoff of against the fuel consumption,” he said. (JH)