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Jamaica’s 2006 National Energy Policy to be reviewed

A five-man team is to be appointed to examine and make necessary adjustments to the National Energy Policy which was tabled as a Green Paper in Parliament, in 2006.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Marcia Forbes, made the disclosure while addressing a high-level stakeholders’ discussion forum on the Policy at the Ministry on Tuesday (May 5).

Marcia Forbes, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mining

Marcia Forbes, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mining

“We have a substantial amount of work to do. It (Energy Policy) is very outdated, it is reflecting 2006 realities and statistics that relate as far back as to 2003. The world has changed since that time,” Mrs. Forbes explained.

The Green Paper highlights the Government’s programmes and plans to effectively manage and develop Jamaica’s energy sector.

It aims, among other things, to ensure stable and adequate energy supplies at the least economic cost; reduce Jamaica’s dependence on oil through development of renewable energy sources and technologies, as well as bio-fuels; and minimise the adverse environmental effects and pollution caused by the production, storage, transport and use of energy.

Mrs. Forbes pointed out that the team, when selected, would be charged to work “assiduously and aggressively” to revamp the Energy Policy, revising the document in light of current happenings in the industry. She said that a six-week timeframe would be set for the completion of the task.

Group Managing Director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, highlighted that the revised Green Paper should reflect a few emerging initiatives, including a renewable energy programme and carbon trading.

She said that a renewable energy policy would be essential to facilitate investments in areas such as: bio-fuels, to include second and third bio-fuel development; waste-to-energy; issues of net-metering; and an integrate policy on the trading of bio-credit.

At the discussion forum, Director of Energy Economics, Yvonne Barrett-Edwards, presented an update on the Energy Policy and outlined some of the findings from public consultations.

During 2008, about US$2.7 billion was spent on petrol imports, Mrs. Barrett-Edwards said, noting that last year was not an ordinary year as oil surged to US$147 per barrel.

“That is very serious for us as a country and untenable. We need to address it with haste,” she said.

Currently, Jamaica is 90 per cent dependent on imported oil, with the bauxite industry consuming some 35 per cent; the electricity sector about 23 per cent and transportation using roughly 40 per cent.

“This is a great cause for concern, as these costs are passed onto consumers, directly and indirectly,” Mrs. Barrett-Edwards said.

Director-General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Zia Mian, noted that in the finalisation of the Ministry’s Green Paper, all recommendations should be included, such as those made by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in terms of Vision 2030 development status and, the Nuclear Power Policy.

Since January 2008, the Ministry has held a number of consultative meetings at the community and focus group levels. The finalised document will be presented to Parliament for debate and final approval, at which stage the Green Paper will become a White Paper.

Source: Jamaica Information Service




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