Martyn Forde investigates Renewable Energy in Barbados

At the Solar Installation course in Barbados

From a geographical viewpoint, a small island with limited resources must make trade-offs in order to be competitive in the global economy. “Growing up on the island of Barbados, I noticed the impact of our largest and most competitive industry—tourism,” says MSc student Martyn Forde.

Martyn became interested in the geography of tourism development during his undergraduate years in the Environmental Resource Management and Political Science programs at the University of Toronto. “Every class I took, I tried to focus my projects on the Caribbean region and island environments.  It was in this time that I met my current supervisor, Dr. Danny Harvey.” Intrigued by Dr. Harvey’s Issues in Global Warming (GGR314) and Carbon Free Energy (JGE348) classes, Martyn decided to focus on the growing concern over the impacts of climate change and obvious dependency on the importation of resources in his home region.

Returning to the Barbados as a researcher, Martyn conducted face-to-face interviews with stakeholders in the tourism and energy industries, basic solar site assessments for three hotels, and, encouraged by Dr. Harvey, he took a solar installation course on the island: “This was an enlightening experience because it provided an opportunity to understand some of the technical barriers associated with renewable energy installation within the Barbadian context.”

On the roof of a hotel during a solar site assessment.

His research attempts to indentify the perceived barriers and opportunities for renewable energy within the hotel sector of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with the goal of identifying strategies to maximize the potential contribution of renewable energy to hotel development on the Island of Barbados. “I hope that my research will add to the discussion of Caribbean energy security and ‘green’ tourism development.”

Helicopter ride to photograph hotel space of Barbados.

Throughout his research Martyn has become increasingly fascinated with the dynamics of green technology transfer and the potential impacts on SIDS’s, and he plans on working within the sustainability consultancy field or renewable energy field in the future.