BMR Energy LLC recently celebrates the start of operations of its 36 megawatt wind farm in Jamaica, the country’s largest private-sector renewable energy project. With support from The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Canada, the BMR Jamaica Wind Project will help diversify the country’s energy matrix and ease the dependence on imported fossil fuels. Located about 90 km west of Kingston, the wind farm is expected to reduce greenhouse gases by about 66,000 tons CO2 equivalent per year, roughly equivalent to taking 13,000 cars off the road.
“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the start-up of our new, state-of-the-art wind generation facility and are thankful for all of the support we have received from the Government of Jamaica, the local community and our lenders,” said Bruce Levy, president and principal of BMR Energy. “We look forward to providing a source of clean, low cost energy to Jamaica for years to come.”The wind farm was made possible through a US$62.7 million financing package, including a US$42.7 million senior loan from OPIC, a US$10 million senior loan from IFC, and a US$10 million loan from the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program. BMR Energy provided an equity investment of US$26.9 million.
Fuel imports account for more than 90 percent of Jamaica’s energy needs and are greater than all of Jamaica’s exports combined. This dependence has led to high electricity prices, which create a burden on the economy. Like many of its Caribbean neighbors, Jamaica is vulnerable to the environmental impacts associated with fossil-fuel usage, such as rising sea levels, coral bleaching and changes in the frequency of tropical storms.“We are delighted to see BMR Energy embark on the inauguration of this critical energy project,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “BMR Energy exemplifies the transformative impact that can result from private-sector development and OPIC is proud to have supported a project that is strengthening Jamaica’s renewable energy sector.”
“Modernizing and diversifying Jamaica’s power sector is critical to its economy,” said Luc Grillet, IFC Senior Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “The BMR wind farm supports Jamaica’s goals for ramping up renewable energy and transitioning to a cleaner, more efficient energy matrix. This helps the country’s competitiveness while having a positive impact on climate change.”The BMR Jamaica Wind project will serve an estimated 15,000 customers annually. Its 11 Vestas wind turbines are expected to generate 120,000 megawatts per year, roughly equivalent to 3 percent of Jamaica’s current energy demand. Power from the project will be sold to the Jamaica Public Service Company, under a 20-year power purchase agreement. This electricity is expected to be among the lowest cost sources of power available on the JPS system.
“Reducing dependence on fossil fuels is a significant part of the climate change solution. The Government of Canada is proud to support Jamaica through this ambitious and effective initiative that will help them to secure a clean, reliable and affordable energy future,” said the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.Blending concessional funds from Canada alongside IFC’s own commercial funds helped make the financing package viable and demonstrate the viability of private sector wind power in Jamaica, thus paving the way for long-term commercial investors.