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‘Future of Biofuels in Jamaica’

Jamaica aims to cut oil imports to 30 per cent by 2030

Organization of American States (OAS) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Joan Neil (right), has the attention of (from left) J. Bradford Hollomon from WINROCK International; Programme Associate, WINROCK International, Emily Kunen; and Associate Director, Applied Research Center, Florida International University, George Philippidis, during a workshop on the ‘Future of Biofuels in Jamaica’ held on November 23 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston..

Jamaica is looking to significantly cut the use of imported oil by more than 60 per cent over the next 20 years, with a greater percentage of energy needs to be met from renewable sources and liquefied natural gas.

“In terms of what we envision 2030 to look like in terms of our energy source mix, we want to move from 94 per cent imported petroleum in 2008 to having no more than 30 per cent of oil in the fuel base by 2030,” said Senior Director in the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Fitzroy Vidal.

“We expect that, by then, we would have 42 per cent of gas and certainly no less than 20 per cent of renewable energy,” he stated at on Tuesday November 23 workshop to discuss the National Biofuels Policy and the ‘Future of Biofuels in Jamaica’ held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

Lamenting that the country relies on oil imports for more than 90 per cent of its total energy consumption, Mr. Vidal said biofuels can increasingly assist in satisfying the island’s energy needs while reducing dependence on fossil fuels and thereby providing a higher degree of national energy security.

Senior Director, Ministry of Energy and Mining, Fitzroy Vidal (left) is in discussion with Team Leader, WINROCK International, David Walden (centre) and member of the WINROCK team, J. Bradford Hollomon, during a workshop on the ‘Future of Biofuels in Jamaica’, held on November 23 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

The National Biofuels Policy 2010-2030, developed in collaboration with the Government of Brazil and the Organization of American States (OAS), provides a framework for the exploration, development and expansion of biofuel options in Jamaica with specific focus on bioethanol and biodiesel.

It is in response to directives within the National Energy Policy 2009-2030 and the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 Jamaica, to increase the percentage of renewable sources of energy in the country.

The OAS engaged non-profit organisation WINROCK International to support the development of the policy, which was published in October.

The vision of the policy is to have a modern, efficient, diversified and environmentally sustainable biofuels sector that contributes to Jamaica’s long-term energy security and socio-economic development.

Focus is placed on the development of ethanol from sugarcane and further use of bagasse for cogeneration, thus providing support for the revitalisation of the 300-year old sugar industry, which is a source of excellent biofuel stock.

Mr. Vidal said the document was developed after consultation with key stakeholders to ensure “that it reflects the views of all.”

He said the Ministry was getting tremendous support from international development partners along with key agencies to build capacity “because we are determined that the development of the policy is one thing but its implementation and sustainability of the initiative is going to be very important going forward.”

OAS Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Joan Neil, noted that a number of steps have already been taken relating to the use of renewable energy in the island, citing the E-10 mandate as an example.

Tuesday’s workshop sought to create wide awareness of the biofuels policy and its potential in Jamaica as well as form consensus on the elements of an implementation plan. It also served to review of the policy and the pre-feasibility study undertaken to develop the local biofuels sector.

Category/ies:Events, Jamaica Events, Jamaica News.
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