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Ground Breaking for 36.3MW Wind Farm in Malvern


Wind Farm 


GROUND was broken yesterday for the 36.3 megawatt wind farm at Malvern, St Elizabeth which government and investors say forms part of a concerted push to reduce Jamaica’s US$2-billion oil bill through the use of renewable energy.


The project, located close to Munro College, at one of the highest and most windswept points in the Santa Cruz Mountains — across the road from an existing Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCO) wind farm — is being developed by BMR Jamaica Wind Limited.


Headed by American Bruce Levy, BMR Jamaica is a subsidiary of the US-based BMR Energy.


The project is costing US$80 million with the bulk of the financing coming from the quasi-government investment agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which pushes US overseas investment globally. OPIC has US$700 million committed to financing renewable energy investments in the Caribbean.


BMR and Jamaica’s energy supplier JPS have entered a 20-year power purchase agreement for the power from the wind farm. It will be transmitted to the national grid through the JPS’s substation at Spur Tree in Manchester.


Levy told yesterday’s launch ceremony that electricity will be generated using 11 wind turbines each with maximum output of  3.3MW. The power will reach Spur Tree via 18 kilometres of transmission line.


The project follows last week’s launch of Wigton III, a 24MW expansion plant, part of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Wigton wind farm which currently produces just under 38.7MW of wind energy at Rose Hill in South Manchester.


An upbeat energy minister, Phillip Paulwell reminded the audience at yesterday’s ceremony that soon he will be visiting Content Village in Clarendon for another renewable project, this time involving solar energy, also to be developed by US investors. The Clarendon investment worth J$7 billion will provide 20 MW to the national grid, Paulwell said.


The minister claimed the three projects combined will have an investment value of J$20 billion.


Paulwell, who also has Cabinet responsibility for science, technology and mining, expressed delight at what he said was likely to be direct and indirect employment of close to 200 people at Malvern.


Levy pledged that as much as possible locals would be first choice for employment. Farmers and livestock owners would co-exist on the wind farm, he said. The land, which is being occupied by the wind farm on a lease arrangement, is state-owned.


Paulwell assured investors that their money will be safe.


“All the systems are in place to guarantee a rate of return, and we as a government believe that ventures like these must be profitable. That’s the only way we are going to encourage our investors and we see nothing wrong in making money as we try to achieve overall goal in reducing the price of electricity,” Paulwell said.


He congratulated the US government for their support of energy projects in the Caribbean.


“We applaud you,” he told US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno. The latter said his government recognised that Jamaica’s high energy cost was a hindrance in the effort to “unleash” the country’s growth potential.


JPSCo’s president Kelly Tomblin hailed Levy as “someone who gets things done in a way that benefits the community”. She hailed the partnership in the use of renewable energy as a way of finding solutions.


Levy and BMR Jamaica earned high praise from South East St Elizabeth Member of Parliamnent Richard Parchment, who announced that the company is donating a vehicle to the praedial larceny unit of the St Elizabeth Police Department.


By Garfield Myers



Category/ies:Jamaica News, News, Wind Tech.
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