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Jamaica for renewable energy sources

Energy and Mining Minister James Robertson has given an update on Jamaica’s progress towards greater use of renewable sources of energy, such as wind and hydro electricity, as well as measures being put in place to improve energy efficiency and conservation nationally.

In closing the debate on the National Energy Policy in Gordon House recently, Robertson said that a number of energy sub- policies had already been drafted and operational measures implemented, including the Renewable Energy Policy, the Bio Fuels Policy, an Energy Efficiency and Conservation policy, and the Energy from Waste and Carbon Emissions Policy.

Among the operational measures which form part of an action plan by his ministry, were initiatives to expand the Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester and the commissioning of additional wind farms by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), as well as hydro electricity and a waste to energy project that could add an additional 155 mega watts (MW) of power to the national grid in the short to medium term, Robertson said.

“Where were we going as a country for years under the previous administration without implementable energy policies? As usual we were only talking. From 1973 (OPEC oil crisis) we did nothing significant as a game changer towards renewable energy development. On the other hand, I am able to point to implementation of several energy initiatives within our action plan,” said Robertson, while noting that his ministry was well on the way to completing the draft policies, “with wider public consultations, as a key step towards finalisation.”

Giving additional details, the minister observed that measures such as the JPS’s recently commissioned three MW Wind Farm was in an advanced stage of adding a further six MW of renewable capacity to the national grid, while the company was also exploring the possibility of a new IPP project for an additional 20 MWs of wind generation, while a feasibility study for another eight MW of Hydro was also being conducted.

Meanwhile, the project to convert municipal waste to energy at the Riverton Dump site in the Corporate Area was expected to generate 45MW of power and a similar project in, Montego Bay, a minimum of 20MW, said Robertson.

The minister emphasised however, that while the government was fully committed under the National Energy Policy to realising 20 per cent of the country’s power generation from renewables by 2030, it needed to be clearly understood that based on high start-up costs and issues with the reliability of consistent supply, renewable energy could not be used as base-load (main source) energy source in the replacement of conventional Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and reiterated the administration’s commitment to cheaper and cleaner energy sources such as natural gas.

“Jamaica is an island state and our power system is without interconnection to other power sources. We also have relatively limited resources to support a large amount of renewables in our energy mix, relative to the system size. Accordingly, renewables will likely play a meaningful but limited role in energy diversification over the medium term. The biggest bang for the buck for JPS customers will, therefore, come from the replacement of at least 480 MW of base-load capacity burning less costly and price volatile fuel.

“It is for this reason, that notwithstanding the encouragement of the development of renewable energy resources in Energy Policy and the likelihood of our exceeding the Office of Utilities Regulation’s (OUR) target, the Government has found it necessary to pursue the liquefied natural gas initiative to supply our base load requirements,” said Robertson.

 

Source: Jamaica Observer



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