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Jamaica’s Energy Diversification Programme Bearing Fruit

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, speaking at the Jamaica Trade and Investment Promotions Agency’s (JAMPRO) third staging of the Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on June 13. Photo by Garwin Davis.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the early decision to move aggressively towards energy diversification makes Jamaica less susceptible to the volatility of oil prices in the global market.

He noted that developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), wind and solar will provide a total of 410 megawatts of alternative energy to the national grid by next March.

This is more than half of the electricity demand through the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), which amounts to over 700 megawatts of energy.

Mr. Shaw was addressing reporters at the Jamaica Trade and Investment Promotions Agency’s (JAMPRO) third staging of the Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on June 13.

He noted that prior to diversification, the country’s energy supply came primarily from oil.

“What we have here now is a very, very aggressive programme of energy diversification. You will again recall that 120 megawatts of the old oil system in Bogue, St. James, was actually converted to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is now being operated by New Fortress Energy,” he pointed out.

Mr. Shaw said that when the other New Fortress LNG project in Old Harbour, St. Catherine (which will yield 190 megawatts) is factored in, the result will be a formidable 310 megawatts of LNG, which will be great news for consumers as it relates to energy options.

“We have been told by New Fortress that the Old Harbour project will be ready by the end of this calendar year and certainly fully operational by the end of the first quarter of next year… by March 2019,” he informed.

This is in addition to 100 megawatts of wind and solar power now in the system.

Minister Shaw said that the 410 megawatts of wind power, solar power and LNG going through the JPS “by any stretch of the imagination, speaks volumes as to how far we have come as it relates to renewables”.

He said that Jamaica now has to “think outside the box” in order to bring the best prices to consumers at the pumps.

“We have to become more creative. We have to look at measures like introducing electric cars into the system and also to keep an eye on a pilot project that the Ministry of Transport (and Mining) is doing as it relates to test the use of LNG on five of its buses,” he said.

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