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OUR approves near-11MW of renewable energy projects

BY Ross Sheil Online Co-ordinator rsheil@jamaicaobserver.com
Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has approved three renewable energy projects totalling 10.67 megawatts (MW), with the electricity to be generated from wind, hydro and waste – the first of its kind in Jamaica.
The 1.3 MW waste conversion plant to be located at Riverton Waste Dump in Kingston proposed by HGC Capital Limited of the British Virgin Islands was given conditional approval by the OUR. Meanwhile the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) received the green light for its proposed 6.37MW expansion of the 6MW Maggotty hydro plant in St Elizabeth and 3MW windfarm at Munroe, in the same parish. The projects will cost JPS a total of US$38.7 million.

The development will boost the objectives of the National Energy Policy green paper which seeks to boost the contribution of renewable energy to the 817.75MW national grid from a current level of six per cent to 10 per cent by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2020.

“These initiatives are expected to save the company and, by extension, consumers, millions of dollars in fuel costs each year,” read a statement from JPS, which also referenced the planned construction of the 120MW petcoke plant at Hunts Bay in Kingston, conversion of the 120MW Bogue combined cycle plant in St James to use compressed natural gas (CNG) and the rehabilitation of the 750,000 kilowatt Constant Spring Hydro plant in St Andrew.
The monopoly light utility, which is 20 per cent owned by Government, will still need to reach agreement with the OUR on the tariffs and other details. JPS had a larger 8MW hydro plant on the Great River rejected by the OUR based on cost and environmental concerns. Meanwhile, the regulator has written to HGC Capital asking it to confirm the cost of its electricity and to confirm details about capacity.

The OUR had previously expressed disappointment with the level of response to its request for proposals (RFPs) to add 60MW of generating capacity from renewable sources to the national grid, with the three approved projects falling 50MW short of this target.

David Geddes, OUR director of consumer and public affairs, said that no decision had been taken on whether to issue a second RFP.  “It would have been good to have got some more capacity as a result. We have had some more advice from our consultants and I can’t speak at the moment as to how we would proceed,” said Geddes.

Source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com




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