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Government is awaiting the final decision on US$160 million of funding approved by Venezuela’s PetroCaribe Fund for 13 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in Jamaica.
Having been postponed in December the yet-to-be-rescheduled PetroCaribe Summit will decide on what basis the funds will be made available, be they as soft loans or grants.

The Petroleum Corporation building on Trafalgar Road, New Kingston.
The projects will cost a total of US$224 million.
“This is a holistic programme. It is introducing renewables, diversifying the fuel source and a public education programme,” said Fitzory Vidal, senior engineer in the Ministry of Energy during an interview with the Sunday Finance on Thursday.
Included in the 13 is a project to remove Jamaican schools from the national grid using solar power. Supplying the panels would be a local factory, another of the 13, which has long been an ambition of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ). The factory would supply the domestic market and PetroCaribe member countries.
“To ensure the cost-effective production or availability of these panels and to ensure some amount of sustainability going forward with the programme, one proposal was to build a factory in Jamaica to not only produce solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and the panels but also solar water heaters. It is intended to supply local demand and then have capacity to supply other countries in the region,” said Vidal.
Approval for the projects had come from two technical committees responsible for renewable energy and energy efficiency, said Jean Dixon, permanent secretary in the ministry.
“We are hoping it will be grant funds and we may also be a mixture, it may be a mixture of a grant and soft loans but we really do not know and this is what at this point we have to be very cautious in speaking of these projects,” said Dixon.
Another of the projects is work to draw up legislation for net metering – selling electricity generated from renewable energy to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) at the same price the monopoly light utility charges customers.
“I think everybody is seized with the importance of having in place a metering system or some kind of protocol that will encourage the development of renewable energy. Importantly the important dialogue what is going to take place is what is a reasonable formula for pricing that from renewable sources,” said Dixon.
The ministry, in conjunction with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), is working with multilateral lending institutions World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to obtain technical assistance grants to develop the projects. The ministry is also in dialogue with the institutions to help develop a plan for Jamaica’s energy future.
Also among the 13 projects is the 18 megawatt expansion of the state-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s (PCJ) 20.7MW Wigton Wind Farm for which new wind turbines were previously ordered.
“Let’s put it this way, the Wigton one is going ahead and we are in dialogue with multilateral agencies to assist with initiating – remember what we have put on the table now as project documents really we could also call them advanced concepts because the numbers we have there are fairly crude. We don’t have business plans defined yet,” said Dixon.
Meanwhile, Dixon is optimistic that the national energy policy and energy efficiency green papers will be tabled in Parliament later this year.
The 13 projects would boost the energy policy’s target to increase the use of renewable energy in the electricity sector. Renewables currently account for 5.6 per cent of Jamaica’s energy supply, according to the PCJ’s Centre for Excellence in Renewable Energy (CERE). Government wants to raise this to 10 per cent by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2010.
The PetroCaribe agreement was signed in June 2005 and allows Jamaica to convert 40 per cent of purchase payments for up to 23,500 barrels-a-day from Venezuela, into a long-term soft loan.
Jamaica is investigating possibilities to barter our goods and services, including tertiary education, for Venezuelan oil.
“They determine the price of oil and we can determine the price of goods and services,” said Dixon.
13 projects:
Energy saving
– Energy efficiency project for the National Water Commission (NWC) phase one
– Energy efficiency project for NWC phase two
– Energy efficiency improvement for lighting in hospitals and schools
Renewable energy
– Capacity building for the Centre for Excellence in Renewable Energy (CERE) at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).
– Net metering legislation
– Eighteen megawatt Expansion of Wigton Wind Farm
– Wigton Wind Farm reactive power improvement
– Two MW gearless box wind turbine for Port Authority
– Factory to manufacture solar PV panels and solar water heaters
– Solar PV to supply sections of Portmore
– Solar PV to supply schools
– Solar PV for Rural Electrification Programme (REP)
– Solar PV for street lighting

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Category/ies:Jamaica News.
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