KINGSTON: Jamaica’s State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson, has re-emphasized the Government of Jamaica’s commitment to energy diversification and conservation, stating that money saved on energy can be injected into the economy.
“We are committed to having 30 per cent of our energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2030,” Robinson said at a stakeholder workshop hosted last week in Kingston by the Ministry in collaboration with Worldwatch Institute, a Washington D.C.-based globally focused environmental research organization.
“We are also examining other fuel sources…the LNG (liquefied natural gas) project is on the way; the government’s role has changed, but we are committed to having LNG in the country hopefully by 2015, and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is building a 360 megawatt plant in Old Harbour.”
Robinson said the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) issued a request for proposal for 115 megawatts of renewable energy on November 26 and that the first net billing customer has been connected.
Net billing allows JPS customers who own renewable energy generators, such as wind turbines and photovoltaic (solar) systems, to generate electricity for personal use, as well as sell excess energy to the light and power company at wholesale prices set by the OUR.
“We are also committed to conservation, and we have a project where we hope to achieve a 30 per cent cost savings in public sector energy conservation over a three-year period,” said Robinson.
He said that, as part of the project, there is an affirmative action policy in place for procurement, whereby any local company which has a bid that is within 15 per cent of an overseas company will be awarded these contracts.
“We believe we must develop local capacity and we must develop the expertise to solve our own challenges here,” said Robinson. “If we are able to successfully adopt these strategies, we can bring the cost of electricity down significantly.”
Worldwatch is designing a low carbon energy roadmap for the Ministry which will allow for better harnessing of renewable energy sources; provide solid socio-economic data and provide recommendations that decision makers can execute to bring a more sustainable energy future for the country.
Worldwatch helps inform policymakers and the public about the links between the world economy and its environmental support systems. One of its main objectives is universal access to renewable energy.