The Energy Sector 

In 2017, Barbados officially adopted the National Energy Policy 2019-2030 (BNEP), asserting its long-term goal of achieving “energy security and affordability through diversity and collaboration: establishing and maintaining a sustainable energy sector for Barbados.”[1] This policy initiative is designed to achieve 100% renewable energy (RE) and carbon neutral transformational goals by 2030, establishing clear short-term and long-term directives governing the wide-scale development of RE production, energy consumption, and energy efficiency.

Like many of its neighbors in the Caribbean region, the island of Barbados is almost entirely reliant upon imported fossil fuel products for electricity generation (including heavy fuel oil, diesel, and kerosene). This dependency on imported fuels renders it vulnerable to highly fluctuating and uncertain power costs, which the government intends to transform through long-term electricity sector reforms as established by the BNEP. Barbados has plentiful RE resources in the form of high wind speeds and penetrative solar radiation due to its proximity to the equator. These potential resources indicate its immense potential to shift from high vulnerability on costly foreign fossil fuel dependence to 100% domestic RE supply.

In 2017, total electricity production from RE sources on the island stood at roughly 7%, a figure that the country intends to increase rapidly throughout the next decade with significant investment anticipated in solar and wind energy infrastructure as well as other RE options. In the pursuit of achieving the goals outlined in the BNEP, Barbados also recognizes that it must increase public awareness of these initiatives through educational campaigns and pilot programs, educate sustainable energy technicians and engineers, and provide funding opportunities for RE investments in the public and private sector. To achieve these transformative goals, the Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is entrusted with performing regulatory functions and oversight pivotal to supervising RE implementation efforts.


Our Work

With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NARUC has engaged in a partnership with the Barbados FTC that focuses on providing targeted regulatory support to Barbados as it seeks to implement long-term RE integration efforts aligned with the energy reforms mandated in the BNEP.  Ultimately, the goal of this partnership is to enhance the FTC’s capacity to ensure an optimal regulatory environment for RE proliferation and improved resiliency of the energy sector.

NARUC activities also serve as a venue for consensus-building and collaboration between energy sector stakeholders that can help the FTC build the capacity to establish regulatory frameworks that reflect best practices in achieving increased RE generation in Barbados.


Focus Areas and Selected Engagements

Ensuring electricity sector resiliency

In 2021, NARUC is providing technical assistance to develop a draft Reserve Capacity Regulation and a draft Resiliency Regulation to be included in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for the Barbados FTC. Such regulations will provide the regulatory framework needed for the FTC to ensure that the utility undertakes measures to ensure system reliability, resiliency, and resource adequacy as Barbados works to achieve its RE and carbon neutral goals.

In the context of the electrical grid, resiliency and reserve capacity refers to the ability to avoid, function during, and recover from major events that can impact the provision of energy. This can range from avoiding supply-side shortages in generation fuel, weatherizing transmission infrastructure to prepare for intense storm events, and maintaining energy reserves and capacity to manage fluctuations in energy demand and supply. Frequent tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as fluctuations in fossil fuel imports, are formidable challenges to the stable provision of electricity in Barbados. To this end, NARUC’s technical support for the draft regulations on resiliency and reserve capacity will help to provide stable electricity service that meets future demand and withstand challenges to Barbados’s electrical grid.


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Photo Credit: © Uladzik Kryhin / Adobe Stock

[1] “Barbados National Energy Policy 2017-2037.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


At A Glance

Technical Assistance to Develop Reserve Capacity and Resiliency Regulations

Project Dates: 2020-Present 

Primary Partner: Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC)

Contact Us About This Project