NWC Signs Grant Agreement for Energy Efficiency Project

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left); United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Maura Barry Boyle (centre); and Chairman of the National Water Commission (NWC), Senator Aubyn Hill (right) sign a grant agreement between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the NWC for the financing of the energy efficiency and renewable energy project at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices, on September 14. Observing the signing are (from left) Communication Specialist in the Ministry, Winsome Christie; President, NWC, Mark Barnett and NWC Legal Officer, Soraya Williams.

Story Highlights

  • The National Water Commission (NWC) has signed a US$1-million grant agreement with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to help fund a one-year energy efficiency and renewable energy project.
  • The objective of the initiative is to improve energy efficiency at the NWC’s operations.
  • In his address, Dr. Chang said the project is expected to assist in reducing the approximately $5 billion that the NWC spends on electricity each year.

The National Water Commission (NWC) has signed a US$1-million grant agreement with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to help fund a one-year energy efficiency and renewable energy project.

The objective of the initiative is to improve energy efficiency at the NWC’s operations.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; NWC Chairman, Senator Aubyn Hill; and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Maura Barry Boyle, formalised the agreement on September 14, at the Ministry in New Kingston.

In his address, Dr. Chang said the project is expected to assist in reducing the approximately $5 billion that the NWC spends on electricity each year.

“If we can reduce that, it means that we will have more capital for investment, we can expand the services and do so in a very timely manner and ensure that our people have potable water at an affordable cost. We will also be able to treat the waste water in the way we should,” he added.

The Minister pointed out that work is to begin with energy audits of NWC facilities which consume the most energy, totalling 40,000 megawatts of energy per year. He informed that the aim is to power some of these facilities with solar energy.

The facilities include Greater Mandeville-Gutters Relift, in Manchester; Great River water treatment plant, St. James; the Martha Brae water treatment plant, Trelawny; the Logwood water treatment plant, Hanover; the Porus well, Manchester; the Greater Mandeville-Pepper well, number 3, Manchester; the Great River water treatment plant, St James; Greater Mandeville-Spur Tree booster, Manchester; the New Forrest well, St. Elizabeth; and the Park Lee well, St. Elizabeth.

The energy audit is to guide the implementation of energy-reduction strategies under the project.

Following the audit, renewable energy initiatives are to start at key facilities, and then a programme of replacing inefficient electromechanical equipment is to be rolled out at selected facilities.

For her part, Ms. Barry Boyle said the grant will result in significant savings while allowing the NWC to adopt energy efficiency technologies and on-site renewable power, “potentially making an enormous impact on overall electricity usage”.

She said the grant will help the NWC to develop innovative financing mechanisms that will allow the agency to benefit from lower cost of electricity and reduced electricity load without high upfront expenditure.

“These successful financing models have worked well in the United States, and by bringing them to Jamaica, the National Water Commission will be an example for the rest of the industry around energy efficiency and renewable energy projects,” she said.

She said  under the agreement, the NWC has selected experts from US-based companies as resource mobilisation advisors to conduct energy efficiency audits, renewable energy feasibility studies, and site screening. They will also evaluate financing and legal structures for potential projects.

In the meantime, Senator Hill said the strategic priorities of the NWC include the drive to decrease the average energy consumption by the NWC from US 42 cents per kWh to US 26 cents per kWh by 2020.

The one-year project is slated to begin by next month.

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