Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, says the Government is to finalise an agreement with Eight Rivers Energy Company to build and operate a 33.1-megawatt solar facility at Paradise Park, in Westmoreland.The project will contribute to the grid at US8.54 cents per kWh, and represents an investment of US$50 million.Construction, Wheatley noted, is slated to start in 2016/2017 with supply to the grid commencing in 2018.
The Minister, who was addressing the opening of the Blue Mountain Renewables (BMR) wind project in Potsdam, St Elizabeth, on August 11, said with the granting of the new licence, the doors are now wide open to “facilitate even greater investment opportunities in the country”.“This will be the lowest cost ever for solar power in Jamaica. It will also advance the Government’s major policy objective, namely, the diversification of Jamaica’s energy supply mix to reduce cost and dependence on imported oil,” Dr Wheatley said.He said the Government will also return to the market with a new Request for Proposal (RFP) for 100 megawatts of renewable energy plus an additional 50 megawatts in a separate Waste to Energy proposal.
“It is our intention to grow the Jamaican economy in a sustainable, endogenous and inclusive manner. This is the notion of prosperity for all. The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology is playing a leading role in this regard. One only has to look at our net billing arrangement which has significantly boosted the capacity of individuals to earn from their renewable energy efforts,” the minister said, adding that since April 1, he has signed 100 licences.
He pointed out that the Ministry will be putting forward strategic initiatives aimed at creating affordable and competitive energy, including hydroelectricity, fuel grade ethanol, biodiesel and other bioenergy from local feedstock, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a smart grid with modern grid code regulations.“The country is embarking on a successful energy journey that will bear much fruit,” Dr Wheatley said.Meanwhile, the minister said the commissioning of the wind project at Potsdam is another of the significant milestones that have been achieved along the way.
“What you have witnessed today and in the days and years to come is a testimony of the commitment of the Government to ensure that this country has a modern, efficient, diversified and environmentally sustainable energy sector,” he said.He commended the BMR team and the stakeholders who facilitated the project. “You have invested wisely and worked diligently. These are the types of partnerships that will build a stronger Jamaica,” the minister said.