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$82m for Barbados green hydrogen project

A major energy project planned for Barbados has won the approval for $82 million in financing for its construction.

The funding is part of a major partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank entity.

The pair say they are collaborating on a proposed investment that will increase the resilience of the energy grid in Barbados, particularly during extreme rains, tropical storms, or hurricanes.

The project in question is the proposed RenewStable Barbados, a 50 MW solar generation facility with green hydrogen and lithium-ion battery storage to provide clean and stable electricity to the Barbadian grid.

At its board meeting this week, GCF approved the provision of up to $82 million in blended concessional financing to support IFC’s proposed investment in RenewStable Barbados, which is to be built in St Philip.

Those involved said RenewStable Barbados “will represent the first time GCF is supporting an IFC investment through the provision of concessional financing, the first green hydrogen project for IFC, and the first green hydrogen project in the Latin America and Caribbean region”.

“The project is expected to have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions mitigation – avoiding 693 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the lifetime of the project – while reducing the country’s dependence on expensive fuel imports”.

IFC vice-president, economics and private sector development Susan Lund, called RenewStable Barbados “an example of the kind of transformative investment that IFC and GCF can make together to support the climate transition”.

“GCF concessional financing will help make this innovative green hydrogen project possible and lower the electricity tariff for the people of Barbados,” she added.

Transformative projects

GCF deputy executive director Henry Gonzalez said their organisation’s partnership with IFCC “is grounded in the ambition to deliver transformative projects that can deliver climate impact at scale”.

“This proposed investment offers a solution that can be replicated in Barbados and other small island states, ensuring their prosperity while increasing their resilience to climate events,” the official stated.

The arrangement involving the IFC and GCF is one aspect of a bigger partnership to undertake the RenewStable venture.

In September last year, IDB Invest and IFC said they would be joining with Hydrogène de France Energy and Rubis to develop the project.

Through a collaboration Agreement, IFC will provide solar resource assessment, geotechnical and hydrological studies, and environmental life-cycle assessment, strengthening the bankability of the project for international investors to finance its construction in 2023.

IDB Invest has provided advisory services to ensure the environmental and social impact assessment of the project would comply with IFC’s internationally recognised standards.

Rubis is the majority shareholder of Renewstable Barbados. Mauricio Nicholls, chief executive officer for Rubis in the Caribbean, said the company “is pleased to partner with HDF, and IFC and IDB Invest on this innovative project and is committed to working closely with the Government of Barbados to secure all necessary approvals and to diligently pursue all other activities and negotiate all necessary agreements to bring this project to completion”.

“The partnership with IFC is an important step to move this project forward and to secure its financing,” he explained.

Green hydrogen is seen as a major opportunity for Barbados to develop its renewable energy sector. It is produced by separating the water molecule in its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, through a process called electrolysis using renewable energy from the solar plant.

IDB Invest said that among the many applications that are being explored for green hydrogen, the storage of electricity is one that is particularly attractive to address the intermittency challenge of renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar. (SC)

Green Climate Fund deputy executive director Henry Gonzalez.

(Internet image)

International Finance Corporation vice president, economics and private sector development,

Susan Lund. (FP)

Chief executive officer for Rubis in the Caribbean,

Mauricio Nicholls. (FP)

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