More than half of electricity demand in Jamaica to be supplied by renewables

More than half of electricity demand in Jamaica to be supplied by renewables

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Finance and the Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw (left), greets Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Ambassador Masanori Nakano, during Wednesday’s (April 12), signing ceremony for the implementation of a $348.9 million (¥300 million/US$2.7 million) grant-funded three-year ‘Project to Promote Energy Efficiency in Caribbean Countries’. Photo: Rudranath Fraser

By Douglas McIntosh

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The government is projecting that, within two years, more than half of Jamaica’s electricity demand, totalling nearly 700 megawatts, will be generated from renewable sources.

According to finance and public service minister, Audley Shaw, this is based on the government’s “aggressive” approach to fuel diversification resulting in over 200 megawatts of renewable energy already being supplied to the national power grid.

He was speaking at a signing ceremony at the ministry on April 12, for the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) implementation of a three-year J$348.9 million (¥300 million/US$2.7 million) grant-funded technical cooperation energy efficiency project that will benefit Jamaica and three other Caribbean countries.

Shaw said approximately 120 megawatts of the 200 megawatts are being generated by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) power plant in Montego Bay utilizing liquefied natural gas (LNG), following its recent upgrade at a cost of over $2 billion.

He said the remaining 100 megawatts are being supplied by Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) subsidiary, Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester, which was built at a cost of over $50 billion; the BMR Jamaica Wind plant in Malvern, St Elizabeth, constructed at a cost of over $15 billion; and a solar plant developed at Content, in Clarendon by WRB Enterprises, at a cost of over $10 billion.

Shaw noted that on completion of the $42.5 billion (US$330 million) Renaissance Project, which entails the construction of an LNG 190-megawatt power plant at Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine, “that will put us at over 400 megawatts of energy that is diversified away from heavy fuel oil and coal.”

The minister said the administration welcomed the assistance being provided by the government of Japan under the technical cooperation project.

The initiative will bolster the government’s efforts to boost Jamaica’s renewable energy generation capacity while enhancing energy efficiency.

Similar support is being provided to Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The project is being implemented in Jamaica in two phases and will be spearheaded by the PCJ.

Meanwhile, PCJ Group managing director, Winston Watson, said the entity is undertaking projects to further consolidate the government’s energy programme.

These, he indicated, include: development of a bio-fuel diesel programme; oil and gas explorations off Jamaica’s south coast; and upgrading the PETROJAM refinery.

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