IDB published a new report on ocean energy potential in Barbados

Analysis of the most suitable locations for OTEC around Barbados

IDB published a new report on ocean energy potential in Barbados
Photo: IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has published a report on the potential of Ocean Energy in Barbados. 

The report is very comprehensive yet user-friendly, Includes: A Review of Clean Technology Options, Available Resources, and Location Guidance for Potential Areas of Interest for Commercial Development. 

The report, published as a technical note, is presented to provide information on operating principles and development status of several selected Ocean Renewables for deployment in Barbados. 

  • Fixed Offshore Wind is well established as a commercial technology, and the offshore wind resource in Barbados is assessed as ‘good’, but the only potentially suitable deployment locations in Barbados are all within 3km from shore where visual impact will be significant and where other technical considerations pose challenges. Therefore the practical potential for this technology in Barbados is found to be limited.
  • Floating Offshore Wind is a rapidly maturing technology with global market potential. The rate of deployment of the technology is forecast to increase rapidly and the sector is expected to reach commercial readiness within five years.  The theoretical resource potential for conventional floating wind (in 60-200m water depth) in Barbados is estimated at 189MW, with over 8GW of potential for deep floating wind (in depths of 200-1000m).  A number of very large areas potentially suitable for deployment of the technology have been identified. These areas are distributed to the south, west and off the north coast of the island with each area being of sufficient size to host a project of substantial scale.

  • Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) is identified as a promising but highly site-specific technology. The technology may be commercially viable at some locations at present however it is generally expected to reach general commercial readiness at a broader range of sites within five years.  Barbados is a promising location for SWAC projects given the high cost of energy and substantial, year-round cooling requirement.  There is a slight mismatch between areas with best access to deep water and areas likely to have most cooling demand and further work is required to identify suitable projects and assess overall feasibility.
  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is identified as a highly promising technology but is broadly anticipated to require more than five years to reach commercial readiness.  The thermal difference between surface and deep waters in Barbados territorial waters is found to be suitable for OTEC plant. Numerous and extensive areas of interest for potential future project locations have been identified. The theoretical resource potential for OTEC is conservatively assessed as 160MW. 
  • Wave Energy is expected to take between five and ten years to reach commercial readiness. Barbados is considered to have a ‘moderate’ to ‘good’ wave resource and a number of potentially suitable development sites have been identified off the east coast. 
  • Tidal  energy  may  be  commercial  within  five  years,  however  no  potential  development  sites  for  this  technology has  been  or  are  expected  to  be  identified  in  Barbados. 
  • Ocean  Current  is  much  further  from  commercialisation than tidal (up to 10 years) and again no sites have been identified. Overall,  this  report  aims  to  engender  a  much  improved  understanding  of  the  potential  for  marine  renewable energy deployment in Barbados by matching resource potential with technical and commercial readiness.  This is consistent with and will support the target of the Government of Barbados to fully decarbonise by 2030 as stated in its National Energy Policy 2019-2030