The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is collaborating with the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other partners in implementing an innovative green energy electricity hybrid solution for Barbuda.
The project will see the installation of a completely new electricity power station, a 720 kWp solar photovoltaic facility, and an 863 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery storage solution that will store and stabilize electricity from the solar plant. This will allow the renewable energy capacity to meet 100% of current daytime power requirements. Additionally, a total of 800kW of diesel generation capacity is also provided and will ensure resilience and a stable electricity supply at night and other periods when solar power may not be available.
The total cost of the project is approximately US$5.6m with approximately US$4.0m provided as a grant by the UAE, US$1m from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda through financing from the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF), US$0.5m from the Government of New Zealand, and additional counterpart resources from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the Barbuda Council, and the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).
The project, the largest and most innovative of its type funded by the UAE through its Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund and fund’s executing arm Masdar. The Project will see the relocation of the current Barbuda electricity power station to an inland site north east of Codrington as part of the effort to reduce the island’s vulnerability to storm surge as witnessed during the 2017 passage of Hurricane Irma. The Barbuda Council has also identified additional lands at the new site which will allow for the phased increase in solar plant and/or other renewable energy facilities as well as the eventual relocation of electricity services to the new site.
Technical work has continued throughout 2020 despite the significant restrictions arising from the COVID19 pandemic by utilizing weekly on-line coordination meetings involving representatives of the various parties including APUA and the Barbuda Council. Initial works have been completed on site clearance, detailed engineering and procurement, and shipments of equipment are expected to arrive on island in January 2021. An onsite Coordinator has been in Barbuda since September 2020 working closely with APUA and the Barbuda Council.
Project implementation seeks to maximize local technical, equipment and labor inputs from Barbuda and from Antigua and to incorporate international standards of environmental sustainability and gender equity considerations.
The project is being executed by the Ministry of Public Utilities, Civil Aviation, Transport and Energy, the APUA, and the Barbuda Council, with engineering contractor services provided by the French company, IDSUD Energies. Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has successfully managed the development and execution of the project.
Commissioning and hand-over of the hybrid electricity plant is scheduled for June 2021 providing Barbuda with a state-of-the art hybrid energy system. Planning and coordination has also proceeded with a UK Government funded electricity resilience project for Barbuda being implemented by APUA which will see underground cabling of electricity lines linked to the new power plant, further contributing to the national and international efforts at advancing sustainable development in Antigua and Barbuda.