Jamaica begins search for cheaper electricity

By Admin Wednesday November 28 2012 in Caribbean
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KINGSTON: The Government of Jamaica has begun its search for 115MW of renewable energy to add to the national grid.


Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, says investors in renewable energy projects will be able to bid for the new energy-generating capacity through a request for proposal (RFP) process.


“The Government of Jamaica has been making steady progress in encouraging renewable energy investors, as we intend to achieve – and indeed exceed – our stated objective of having, by 2030, 20 per cent of the electricity used in Jamaica being generated from renewable sources,” said Paulwell.


Last month, the government cleared the way for investment by rescinding the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica Extension of Functions Order, which gave the state entity the exclusive right to develop renewable energy projects in Jamaica.


The removal of exclusivity means that the renewable energy market in Jamaica is now fully liberalized and that the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) can seek competitive bids for the addition of renewable energy capacity.


At the November meeting of the Jamaica Energy Council held last Friday, Paulwell told the group that the Cabinet had recommended that the OUR issue RFPs for the supply of electricity from renewable energy to the national grid.


The Energy Council, which meets monthly and which is comprised of stakeholders from government, the opposition, private sector and civil society, endorsed the recommendation.


The OUR issued the RFP on Monday and all potential investors in large or small renewable energy installations are eligible to participate.


“This RFP process seeks to strike a balance between encouraging investment and reducing electricity prices to consumers, and I want to personally encourage all investors to submit their responses, and to do so quickly,” said Paulwell. “I look forward to seeing Jamaicans enter the renewable energy sector as it is a growth industry with myriad opportunities for employment, training and investment.”


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