Energy high on the growth agenda – petroleum sez, resource procurement unit in the works business jamaica gleaner e payment electricity bill maharashtra

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The conversion to cleaner and more affordable energy sources and investments in the build-out of a reliable and sustainable infrastructure are meant to shore up the global competitiveness of Jamaican firms through cheaper energy and, consequently, lower production costs.

"The three projects that have been approved, but are not yet installed and are currently being monitored to implementation, are the 190MW JPS LNG plant in Old Harbour; the 94MW Jamalco LNG cogeneration plant being constructed and financed by New Fortress Energy; and the 37MW solar plant being developed by Eight Rivers Energy Company," said Wint, who is also professor emeritus of international business at the University of the West Indies.

The Old Harbour plant is, he said, about 65 per cent complete and scheduled for commissioning in March 2019. The Eight Rivers Solar Plant in Westmoreland is said to have achieved financial close and commissioning is targeted for early 2019. And the Jamalco plant is said to have received all necessary approvals and is targeted for completion in early 2020.

"When added to the Bogue 120MW plant which was converted in 2016 to use LNG, and the renewable energy plants that have recently been commissioned, these projects, together, represent a significant retooling of the electricity-generating sector and a diversification of Jamaica’s electricity-generating fuel sources, in line with the National Energy Policy," Wint said.

As for the Jamaica Special Economic Zones Authority, JSEZA, which is an investment promoter for the low-tax zones, the nascent state agency is pitching in on the initiatives to drive energy costs lower, as it goes after heavy industry operators.

"In order to attract these energy-intensive industries, we have to bring the cost of energy down to a level that is affordable and allows them to compete in the global market. So we have been working very closely with energy providers – renewable, LNG, other sources – to bring the price of energy down," said JSEZA Chief Executive Dr Eric Deans.

Bunkering, or the fuelling of ships, is a growing activity within a planned petroleum economic zone, one of the specialised areas being pioneered by JSEZA, especially in light of a requirement for ships to utilise cleaner fuel, such as LNG, as of 2020. LNG is also feedstock for other industries used to produce chemicals, plastics and other products.

"The focus of Jamaica’s recent electricity-generating procurement process has been to improve the reliability of the generation system by adding new, efficient generating capacity, while diversifying fuel sources in an attempt to get fuel sources that are projected to be lower cost, with less price variability than the heavy fuel oil and automotive diesel oil that currently dominate as fuel sources," he explained.

Jampro’s promotional information touts Jamaica’s renewable resources, namely wind, biomass, hydro and solar energy, and continuous research into the technologies, as both central to its energy security as well as offering the prospect, down the line, to transition into an independent energy producer.