Waste-to-energy plants to be constructed

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Two waste-to-energy plants which will help the country save US$60 million in its annual fuel importation bill, are slated for early construction.

“Jamaica is on track for the development of waste-to-energy plants and as part of its mandate, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has advanced an international tender process that has resulted in the selection of Cambridge Project Development Company and its partners to finance, design, build, own and operate two waste-to-energy facilities in Jamaica,” said Minister of Energy and Mining, James Robertson, at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum, which was held last week in Montego Bay. “Provided that all goes well with the due diligence being conducted, these plants will be operated over a 20-year period through a joint venture of PCJ and the Cambridge Project group.”

Robertson said that a total of 65 megawatts of electricity from the waste-to-energy project would offset power that was today being generated with expensive imported fuel oil.

“In fact, these two plants will save or avoid the importation of over 700,000 barrels of fuel each year, representing a savings, at today’s relatively low oil prices, of approximately US$60 million annually. The two waste-to-energy plants will sell power to the national grid under power purchasing agreements and their power sales price will not be driven directly by international oil prices, as the imported fuel oil is. This means that the two facilities will represent a significant hedge against future oil price spikes, like the one experienced globally in 2008,” said Robertson.

Robertson said the power to be generated from the waste-to-energy facilities represents about 18 per cent of the current electricity needs of the country, excluding the energy-intensive bauxite/alumina industry.

“If the bauxite/alumina industry is included, then the two plants could generate approximately 7 per cent of the nation’s electricity requirements,” said Robertson. “We therefore look forward to the success of this project.”

Robertson said the timing of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum was important not only to Jamaica’s energy sector, but the entire region.

“As we come together as country representatives, private investors and the wider donor community, let us remember that we owe it to those we represent to leave here with solutions and plans of action that are timely, economical and implementable. Today, we have an opportunity to move away from our splintered ways of tackling the challenges posed in implementing energy conservation and developing renewables,” Robertson told the participants.

Energy ministers and officials from the Caribbean, a U.S. government delegation and representatives from the public and private sectors and development finance banks attended the forum, held to discuss the renewable energy agenda for the region. (JIS)

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