However, Jamaica’s economic and energy needs are no different from her Caribbean neighbors and with a combine population of some thirty four (34) million people, million could be lifted out of poverty in less than fifteen (15) years to attain develop nation status by 2030. The strategic importance of the hot vents and the potential to harness some fifty two (52) gigawatts of energy will significantly boost the economic standing of the  entire Caribbean Region.

 

To this extent Jamaica and her neighbors must invest approximately US$131 billion in their energy infrastructure over the the next fifteen years or US$9.0 billion annually, according the table (No.1). Jamaica alone must invest annually some US$700,000,000.

 

Based on forecasted electricity consumption by 2031 comparable to Germany’s current energy consumption used as a benchmark, the demand for Northern Caribbean countries excluding Puerto Rico is estimated at thirty gigawatt (30 GW).

The hydrothermal energy find will boost Jamaica’s economic standing and strategic position in the region a position it had lost some three decades ago and is now tittering on the brink of bankruptcy under it’s IMF loan obligations.More importantly the location of the undersea hot vents falls within its “sovereign territory” as defined by rights associated with international laws relating to Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  that maritime zone “beyond and adjacent to its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 200 nm from its baselines (or out to a maritime boundary with another coastal State). Within its EEZ, a coastal State has: (a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing natural resources, whether living or nonliving, of the seabed and subsoil and the superjacent waters and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds; (b) jurisdiction as provided for in international law with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations, and structures, marine scientific research, and the protection and preservation of the marine environment, and (c) other rights and duties provided for under international law.”-NOAA

 

It is believed also that the vents are located on the same tectonic plate as Jamaica giving more rights to the economic benefits from this area. The economic impact in the region will be significant, especially for Jamaicans who could see the feasibility of paying US$0.05/kWh (instead of the US$0.35/kWh they are currently paying) for electricity generated from a floating power plant hovering above the hydrothermal vents some 3 miles below in some places on the seabed.

 

The Proposed Trans-Caribbean Hydrothermal Power Plant and Undersea Transmission Cables is estimated to cost some US$140 billion with a capital investment structure of some US$34 billion in private equity over an investment cycle of twenty (20) years with a Net Present Value (NPV) of US$4.4 billion and an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 24% from revenue generated on a base electricity cost of US$0.05/kWh.

 

The construction cycle would last five (5) years and employ an estimate of some 450,000 workers during that time contributing well over US$190 billion in regional GDP and would employ some 6,000  full time workers during operation.

 

The fifty two (52) gigawatt of clean renewable energy will offset some 228 million tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2); having Green House Gas (GHG) emission reduction equivalency; 38 million passenger vehicles and 23.4 billion gallons of gasoline and could contribute an additional twenty (20) gigawatt of energy to the North American Grid.