Barbados is a small island, located in the Eastern part of the Caribbean surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. This island has slowly developed as a nation state with a population of approximately 288,000 in the year 2020 . Additionally, the island is mainly a coastal area comprised of limestone rock where a quarter of the population resides. The coastline is approximately 97 kilometers in length amongst the island’s extensive coral life along the western coast. However, the geographic location of the island near the the Atlantic Ocean makes it highly vulnerable to climate change factors. Barbados is susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tropical cyclones, droughts etc. while sea levels and the atmospheric temperature of the Earth gradually increase.
Barbados created a National Climate Change Policy in 2012 and ratified the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016 from the ongoing weather conditions and natural disasters. Barbados was the first Caribbean country to create a special body called a Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU). This unit is divided into three sections: Coastal Planning Section, Coastal Engineering Section, and Marine Research Section. The Coastal Planning Section is responsible for CZMU’s education, outreach, and summer internship programs. The Coastal Engineering Section is responsible for the planning, construction, and monitoring of shoreline protection structures. The Marine Research Section is responsible for the health of marine ecosystems around Barbados. In 2018, the Hon. Mia Mottley dedicated themselves to leading the country to the first 100% green and fossil-free country in the world by 2035, despite representing a country considered least responsible for the climate change crisis. In order to obtain this goal, the country needs financial assistance from other countries.
The Barbados government has made strides towards renewable energy, specifically in the solar industry. The government has implemented tax benefits and exemptions to companies that invest towards Barbados residents for products that promote green energy. The goal is to invest in 60 electric buses to operate within the public transportation system which is rare in the Caribbean Island. Additionally, the Barbados government wants to retrofit government buildings, police stations, hospitals, bus shelters, and develop affordable housing with solar photovoltaic replacing 30,000 streetlights with LED fixtures. Barbados Light & Power (BL&P), the main power company reported a 10 megawatt increase in a year from renewable energy suppliers. In 2021, Barbados became the top user of electric vehicles per capita in the Caribbean consisting of 430 EVs on the Island’s roads. In 2013, a Barbadian couple started “Mega Power”, a locally owned company that builds and manages solar carports, as well as electric vehicle stations located throughout the island.
While solar energy is a beneficial renewable energy resource, opportunities are expected in alternative energy generation. The Barbadian renewable market focuses on solar photovoltaics, but there is a gradual interest in wind, waste, biomass, and ocean and wave energy sources. The Barbados government has proposed a multi-million-dollar 30-megawatt plant and green energy park. Solar photovoltaics and smaller-scale wind turbines have become popular for residential and commercial purposes, particularly in the tourist sector. The government has explored larger utility-scale wind, solar, ocean and biomass generated energy projects for national electricity consumption and reducing reliance on fossil fuel resource.
The Barbados government has planned different sources of renewable energy to ensure economic stability and lessen the effects of natural disasters. The country stands as a strong model for other nations in preparing for the climate change crisis.