KINGSTON, Jamaica: Virtually all of Jamaica’s 2.7 million population will benefit as a result of a US$15 million loan approved last week by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank to increase energy efficiency and security on the island.
The loan will benefit Jamaica’s residential, commercial and industrial energy consumers through the development of detailed policies and plans on renewable energy to reduce the country’s high dependence on imported petroleum products while moving to cleaner fuels.
“Given the current crisis in energy worldwide, this World Bank loan program is very well timed,” said Hillary Alexander, Permanent Secretary in Jamaica’s Ministry of Energy and Mining. “It presents a way forward for the country in attacking the serious issue of energy inefficiency and, along with other complementary projects, will allow us in a relatively short time to become a more productive nation.”
The Energy Security and Efficiency Enhancement Project will contribute to reduced energy costs, increased energy security and improved economic competitiveness. It also supports efforts to address climate change by contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The World Bank recognizes that addressing Jamaica’s energy needs is crucial for the country to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness,” said Françoise Clottes, World Bank Director for the Caribbean. “We are pleased that this project supports Jamaica’s policy objectives of promoting energy conservation and efficiency and ensuring energy security.”
Some activities which the project will support include: developing detailed policies, strategies and implementation plans on renewable energy (in particular hydro, wind and biomass), energy efficiency and gas, and on related regulations; strengthening the regulatory framework for private-public partnership monitoring of the energy sector; promoting solar and wind energy; and providing a line of credit/revolving facility through the Development Bank of Jamaica to provide retail financing to the private sector for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.
“Jamaica’s energy policy 2009-2030 seeks to ensure the country’s energy security, the provision of affordable energy supplies to all Jamaican consumers, an improved competitive base for the country, as well as sustainable growth and development of the nation,” said Fitzroy Vidal, Senior Director in Jamaica’s Ministry of Energy and Mining. “This loan will help Jamaica as it works to implement this policy and achieve sustainability for the energy sector.”
The loan – with a variable spread – is payable in 30 years, including a five and a half year grace period.