On May 6, 2024, Barbados' utility regulator, the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), issued its decision on the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited’s (BLPC) Application for preapproval of investments and cost recovery through the clean energy transition rider. The FTC approved a fraction of the battery storage capacity requested by BLPC, and gave approval for the energy provider to recover some of the cost of that investment from customers.

The Commission approved the following proposed investments for recovery through the cost recovery mechanism:

1. 15 MW of the requested 90 MW Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS);

2. Automatic Generation Control Systems;

3. Distributed Energy Resources Aggregation and Control Platform; and

4. Interconnection Infrastructure to facilitate the integration of Independent Power Producers on the public grid.

The remaining 75 MW of BESS and Synchronous Condensers were not approved.

These proposed projects represent the BLPC’s first Clean Energy Transition Plan in support of the achievement of the Government of Barbados’ (GoB) transitional goal of 100% renewable energy (RE) by 2030.

The full decision and order from the FTC can be accessed here.

Responding to the decision, the BLPC said:

“We recognise any movement on this as a step forward in the journey towards sustainable energy solutions for Barbados. However, we are disappointed at the approved 15 MW battery storage capacity, which represents only one-sixth of the 90 MW stated in the application.”

The BLPC warned that the decision would challenge its ability to immediately expand grid capacity to meet Barbados' existing and anticipated renewable energy needs:

“Understanding the critical role of battery storage in advancing renewable energy, we are carefully analysing the implications of the FTC’s decision,” it said. “Once this assessment is complete, we will expand on how the decision fully impacts Light & Power’s plans for the electricity grid.”

The proposed projects fall under the initial phase of the Clean Energy Transition Plan, supporting the government’s objective of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. BLPC reiterated its commitment to collaborating with regulators and stakeholders, despite the setback, to overcome challenges and achieve a shared vision for a more sustainable and energy-independent future for Barbados.

The FTC has stipulated specific requirements for cost reporting and documentation as the approved projects progress. These include reporting total estimated installed costs for the approved 15 MW storage, actual capital expenditure of each asset, and submission of invoices concerning actual capital spending for each BESS asset.

BLPC’s application was reviewed by Hearing Chairman Dr. Donley Carrington and Commissioners Dr. Ankie Scott-Joseph, Ruan Martinez, John Griffith, and Samuel Wallerson.