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Government determined to Reduce Energy Bill

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell (left) in discussion with Principal Director, Energy Division, Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Fitzroy Vidal. Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell (left) in discussion with Principal Director, Energy Division, Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Fitzroy Vidal.
KINGSTON. Jamaica, March 1, 2015 - Science, Technology, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell says the Government, is determined to reduce the country's burdensome energy bill through the implementation of several billion dollar sustainable renewable energy programmes being undertaken in collaboration with private sector stakeholders

Speaking at a workshop for the introduction of a media tool kit for media practitioners at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Friday, the Energy Minister said that some of these programmes will redound to the benefit of all Jamaicans.

These programmes include: the proposed construction of a $10. 2 billion 36.3 megawatt wind farm at Munro, St. Elizabeth of which ground was recently broken; and the 24-megawatt expansion plant of Wigton Windfarm in Manchester valued at $5 billion, of which ground was recently broken.

The project in St. Elizabeth will generate electricity using 11 Vesta Model V-112 wind turbines, and power will be transmitted to the national grid via a 69kV transmission line running 18 kilometres from the wind farm to the JPSCo’s 138/69kV Spur Tree substation in Manchester.

Also, the project at Wigton Windfarm is expected to cut oil imports by 37, 100 barrels per year, and achieve annual savings of more than $200 million.

He said these projects will also bolster the Government’s target of 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 48,000 tonnes.

“In another couple of weeks, we will start construction of a 20 megawatt solar pv system that will make Jamaica the largest solar facility in the English speaking Caribbean and out of all these efforts we will see a significant dent in the budget of our imported fossil fuel and very importantly, we will be contributing to cleaning up the environment from the lower emission of carbon,” he said.

In the meantime, he said since 2012, approximately 300 licences have been issued to individuals and companies that are generating their own electricity using renewable energy.

Through the process known as Net Billing, persons are allowed to sell unused energy to the public electricity grid, generated from devices that harness renewable energy.

As it relate to hydro power, he said the potential exists for greater power to be generated and informed that five prefeasibility studies for selected hydro sites have already been completed.

“We are now looking to moving to the feasibility stage and then there is an additional sixth site that we are focusing on. We are at the final stage of a contract that will provide technical assistance in the area of hydro power promotion and financial analysis, project evaluation and institutional capacity strengthening,” he said.

He said diversification of the country’s energy mix as well as greater levels of conservation are crucial to lowering the approximately US$2 billion spent on imported oil annually.

The workshop was aimed at forging new energy communication liaison between the Ministry and media houses and to provide  resources and industry tools crucial to assisting media practitioners to write their stories on energy issues.

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