IDB Invest and IFC Partner with HDF Energy and Rubis to Develop First Green Hydrogen Power Plant in Barbados
- This project aims to provide electricity to 16,000 homes at a competitive tariff in Barbados, helping reduce emissions and add firm generation capacity through domestic and abundant solar resources.
In line with Barbados’ ambitious targets of 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality by 2030, IDB Invest and IFC are working with Hydrogène de France (HDF) and Rubis to support the development of Renewstable Barbados, a 50 MW solar generation facility with green hydrogen and lithium-ion battery storage that will provide firm and clean electricity to the Barbadian grid. In addition, Renewstable Barbados is designed to host the largest sheep farm on the island, contributing to both energy and food security of Barbados.
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. For its part, IDB Invest has provided advisory services to ensure the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the project would comply with IFC’s internationally recognized standards.
Green hydrogen 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. 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.
"We are living in a unique moment in our region where we must act together with the private sector in developing sustainable projects. Green hydrogen projects like this allow us to move in the right direction, especially in a region like the Caribbean," says James P. Scriven, CEO of IDB Invest.
Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, IFC Manager for the Caribbean, stressed that “climate change is one of the Caribbean’s most pressing challenges, which is why IFC is helping pave the way for viable and profitable renewable energy projects to help countries achieve its environmental goals.”
“Green hydrogen is emerging as an unparalleled technology for decarbonization of many aspects of the economy,” says Adil Marghub, IFC Regional Head of Industry for Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This is a first of its kind project for IFC globally, and we are delighted to partner with HDF and Rubis to promote a reliable clean baseload solution using green hydrogen. This project is the second of its kind developed by HDF in the region after one already under construction in French Guiana. The Renewstable® solution is not only addressing a need in Barbados, but also can be replicated in other small islands economies in the Caribbean and beyond.”
Although based on existing technologies, the production of green hydrogen and its subsequent use to convert it back to electricity using fuel cells has been prohibitively expensive. The continuous fall in cost of renewable energy – which comprises around 70% of the cost of producing green hydrogen – has resulted in a strong momentum and in numerous initiatives to develop green hydrogen projects around the world. Green hydrogen as an electricity storage solution is already attractive in remote islands where the existing alternatives, such as heavy fuel oil diesel-based generation are expensive, polluting and making the countries reliant on fuel imports.
“The Renewstable Barbados project is under joint development by HDF Energy and Rubis as an innovative carbon-free baseload solution for Barbados, that is fully aligned with the island nation’s desire to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. We are extremely pleased with the involvement of IFC and IDB Invest, supporting the development of this industrial-scale green hydrogen power plant. The regional and worldwide duplication of this solution is in progress, and we are looking forward to expanding this partnership beyond Barbados,” says Thibault MENAGE, VP Caribbean at HDF.
“As the majority Shareholder of Renewstable Barbados, Rubis 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,” says Mauricio Nicholls Chief Executive Officer for Rubis in The Caribbean.
Creating markets is one of the core pillars of IFC's work in Latin America and the Caribbean. By working upstream, IFC has been helping to establish the conditions that lead to private investments, supporting early-stage project development and building a pipeline of bankable projects.
IDB Invest is committed to partnering with the private sector to increase climate action in Latin America and the Caribbean, implementing mitigation and adaptation strategies through tailored financial and non-financial solutions.
About IDB Invest
IDB Invest, the private sector arm of the IDB Group, is a multilateral development bank focused on improving the lives of those in its emerging markets member countries. We finance projects to advance clean energy, sustainability and create economic growth and social inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. With a portfolio of $15.3 billion in assets under management and 375 clients in 25 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients in a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.idbinvest.org.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About HDF Energy
HDF Energy is a global pioneer in hydrogen energy. HDF develops and operates high-capacity Hydrogen power plants to provide continuous or on-demand electricity from renewable energies combined with high-power fuel cells. HDF will commission the world's first mass production plant for these high-power fuel cells in France, under the brand name HDF Industry. HDF Industry also addresses the rail and maritime markets. Headquartered in Bordeaux, France, HDF Energy has a strong global presence through its subsidiaries in Mexico, Cape Town, Jakarta, Sydney and Barbados where the Caribbean operations are led from.
Rubis, founded in 1990, is an independent French company in the energy sector listed on Euronext Paris (SBF 120). The Group specializes in the Retail & Marketing of fuel, liquefied gas and bitumen from supply to end consumer and the production of renewable electricity. It operates in over 40 countries across three geographical zones: Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.