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Hellshire Hills possible site for wind farm

The Ministry of Energy and Mining is eyeing the Hellshire Hills in St Catherine as a possible site to establish a wind farm, Minister James Robertson informed councillors at the St Catherine Parish Council’s monthly general meeting, last Thursday.

“In terms of wind mapping and understanding where our wind potential exists, the Hellshire Hills is one of the four or five areas that have shown massive potential for wind,” said Robertson.

He was fielding questions after a presentation on policy areas of the ministry, such as the 2009-2030 National Renewable Energy Policy, diversification, modernisation, renewables and the bauxite alumina industry.

According to the minister, unless there was a serious spike in the present growth rate of electricity, the country would require some 1,300 megawatts to the grid by 2030.

“Twenty per cent of our electricity we expect to come from renewables by 2030 – that’s almost 300 megawatts coming from renewables, based on the policy. That’s a massive number for a country our size,” explained Robertson.

Consequently, he said, the project to convert waste to energy, as well as hydro-electricity, were critical elements of the Government’s plan to reduce Jamaica’s dependence on imported oil.

“The hydro potential in St Catherine is being monitored, you do have in that gorge (Bog Walk) a plant that sits where the two rivers meet or divide and come back together – and that goes back to predating Independence. That project was copied by 15 countries of the world for hydro potential and we have not put in back in place,” noted Robertson.

In the meantime, when asked about the ministry’s plan to address the continuous spiking of gas price, Robertson argued that while the cost of petrol was a worldwide phenomenon, there were ways in which a country could protect its citizens.

“In terns of protecting this economy, it is modernisation and efficiency, because if you are paying less at home for the light bill, you can afford to pay more for your transportation cost in comfort, if your transportation time is cut in half and you have proper transportation systems – those factors drive even greater,” said Robertson.

Meanwhile, chairman of the St Catherine Parish Council, Dr Andrew Wheatley, told The Gleaner that the council would be working closely with the ministry to sensitise residents of the parish to energy-conservation methods.

“The council will be looking to promote the use of alternative energy and renewable energy, so that we bring to our people in this parish alternatives and ways and means to economically conserve on their fuel cost, which is a major factor, when it comes to cost of everyday living,” said Wheatley.


Source: Jamaica Gleaner



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