By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) – Minister of energy and business, Senator Lisa Cummins, wants to see Barbados become a “hub for innovation” again.
Senator Cummins expressed this view on Saturday night, as she delivered the feature address at the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers’ (BAPE) Annual Engineering Awards and Dinner, at the Savannah Beach Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.
Noting that Barbados was a “first mover” in solar panels, the Minister queried why new innovations and manufacturing products were not being created that would be responsive to and anticipate the needs of a renewable energy transitioning country.
“Why does Barbados not become the hub anywhere in the world for research and development, innovation and manufacturing technology in renewable energy, and then become that nation that collaborates to export that knowledge, whether we export the finished product, or the knowledge by way of the intellectual property?” she asked.
Senator Cummins noted that no country in the region had “taken the kind of strides in renewable energy that Barbados has”, despite the difficulties that it has faced.
She continued: “How are you going to be creating first-mover advantage? How are you creating new knowledge, new products, new services, and new innovations that set the region on fire? Where is Barbados going to go next? In wind, in hydrogen, in geothermal or in PV?”
She gave the commitment that early in the new year she would meet with various entities, including BAPE, the Barbados Renewable Energy Association, and the Barbados Manufacturing Association, along with The University of the West Indies, and examine how Barbados should be positioned as a world-class innovator in energy resources.
During the night, engineers Lt. Col. Trevor Browne, Peter Williams and Ralph Adams were announced as Fellows for 2021, and Dr Grenville Phillips II, as a Fellow for 2022.
The Barbados Water Authority’s Vineyard Water Augmentation Project received an award for Project of the Year 2021, while the Barbados Light and Power’s Clean Energy Bridge was awarded Project of the Year 2022.