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More Investment in Renewable Energy

Group Managing Director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, has called for more investment in renewable energy initiatives to address the effects of climate change.


She pointed out that the use of conventional fuels, such as petroleum and coal, contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change and more focus must be placed on efficiency, conservation and alternative energy options.


Addressing the topic: ‘Solutions to the Climate Change Crisis – What can we do?’, at the Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals (JIEP) public lecture on May 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Dr. Potopsingh stated that the PCJ “has been working assiduously in the area of accelerating renewable energy resources. But, we must confess that the focus has really been to reduce our over US$2 billion import of petroleum and petroleum products.”


“We (PCJ) have introduced ethanol in our fuels, (and) we have plans to expand (this and other undertakings). We have tied up our negotiations for the expansion of the Wigton wind farm, and there are discussions going on for another phase of development. We also have a number of small hydro projects that we are expecting to come on stream within the next two to three years, to meet our renewable energy target of 10 per cent and 15 per cent by 2020,” Dr. Potopsingh informed, while citing the need for more commitment for investments in these projects by the private sector.


She noted that “there are opportunities, when we take on the whole arena of climate change, for funding for corporate, social and individual responsibility. A renewable energy policy is critical to this accelerated investment. (and) will be focused on getting more investments,” she stated, while stressing the need for attractive incentives that will encourage a buy-in by the private sector as well as householders.


Dr. Potopsingh informed of “strong interest” in bio-fuels locally, particularly bio-diesel, and disclosed that at least two companies are pursuing the establishment of small bio-diesel plants. One of these, she said, is exploring the use of cooking oil, while the second is pursuing another option.


She was quick to point out, however, that funding of renewable energy ventures needs to “go beyond the multi-laterals,” citing the need to engage the local financial sector “which needs to develop an appetite for funding renewable energy projects.”


Regarding the renewable energy policy, she said it will address issues such as specific measurable and achievable targets; capacity building that will adequately facilitate the transfer of energy options inclusive of wind, solar, geo-thermal, and bio-fuels.


“Strategies for supporting a renewable energy policy will be critical, as we already have a sound framework document, which is in the Vision 2030 document,” she pointed out.


Regarding energy efficiency and conservation, which she stated were the “most immediate” issues, Dr. Potopsingh said that every individual has an opportunity to contribute by changing “wasteful energy habits.”


“So, a change in behaviour starts with each of us. demands side energy management to enable us to perform better, even within the public utility sector. A more scientific approach to include energy forecasting, energy management, is also an important component of any strategy going forward,” she stressed.


Source: JIS



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