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Multimillion-dollar contract approved for wind-energy research

The National Contracts Commission (NCC) has approved the purchase of US$182,000 (J$15.5 million) worth of meteorological instruments for the conducting of wind resource assessment in Jamaica.

Wigton Wind Farm Limited, the state-owned producers of wind energy on the island, is spearheading the project, which is largely funded by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The multilateral agency is paying for 75 per cent of the project while Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and the University of the West Indies (UWI) will cover the remaining cost. The UWI’s component is non-cash.

“The intent is to measure wind resources at 20 sites across Jamaica. This requires the purchase and installation of wind instruments at these sites, and then at least 12 months of monitoring. Collection of this data will inform the feasibility of setting up wind farms at sites that are found to be suitable,” Wigton Wind Farm told The Gleaner in an email response on Tuesday.

The project is expected to be completed by December 2012 with final reports completed by March 2013.

Selected sites

According to Wigton, the sites selected for the assessments fall in the parishes of St Thomas, Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth, St Mary, St Ann and Trelawny.

“The current deployment of the wind instruments, however, may allow other sites to be incorporated and possibly cover all parishes,” Wigton said.

Wind energy is listed in the National Energy Policy as one of the island’s renewable energy strengths.

“Jamaica is endowed with a very high potential for the use of renewables in the form of solar, wind and biomass production,” the policy acknowledges.

Wigton, which is located in Manchester, has 23 wind turbines and generates an average of 7 MW. It is estimated that the wind farm can produce 20.7 MW of electricity.

Wind energy represent two per cent of renewable powered used in the island, 50 per cent more than solar power. A whopping 91 per cent of energy consumed in Jamaica is fuelled by imported oil.


Source: Jamaica Gleaner

Category/ies:Jamaica News.
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