JIS News

Alternative Power Sources is one company at the forefront of Jamaica’s Energy sector, helping families and business to reduce their energy bill and, at the same time, advancing the national renewable energy agenda.
More importantly, Head of the company, Damien Lyn, reports that the renewable energy installation business has been a viable investment for him.
“When I saw several companies in Jamaica closing down and moving their operations to Trinidad, because of the cheaper oil prices, I realized that lower energy prices was not only a survival necessity but a good business opportunity, as well” he explains.
The company’s website says that their contribution to the Jamaican economy is to provide renewable sources of energy, ranging from solutions for lighting for establishments spanning residential single dwelling and multi-dwelling gated communities, in addition to agriculture, manufacturing and eco-tourism projects.
Alternative Power Sources has installed some 20 wind turbine systems across Jamaica, in addition to 230 solar voltaic systems with solar water heaters enjoying highest demand.
Clients range from small to large scale operations. Mr. Lyn is proud to admit that his company is involved in the installation of hybrid renewable energy systems for Mystic Mountain, Jamaica’s spectacular cross country ski lift sightseeing attraction in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Their hybrid system includes wind turbines and photovoltaic installations.
Alternative Power Sources has also been involved in the installation of solar voltaic street and walkway lighting, at one of the newest and largest gated communities, at Richmond, St Ann, which includes 31 street lights and 40 walkway lights.
“This complex has been able to save approximately 80% of the installation costs for regular lighting systems, by choosing a solar voltaic system” Mr. Lyn states.
“There was no need for trunking and cables. Added to this, is the savings to be realized from not using costly oil generated power from the JPS grid, for outdoor lighting, he adds.
He explains that the solar voltaic units were stand alone units, and so far more attractive due to the absence of cables.
This renewable energy investor further pointed out that the battery bank required for such a system, would last about 4-5 years and the solar panels 25 years.
“It’s the first of its kind at this solar voltaic level for Jamaica, and an energy saver’s dream for home owners” he emphasises.
The company’s website also states that several of the renewable energy systems that they have installed, are totally independent of the Jamaica Public Company (JPSCo) Grid.
Their flagship project is the first Town House Complex with Photo Voltaics in Jamaica, The Doric. Alternative Power Sources have also installed the first three-phase inverter/PV/Generator Hybrid (Green Produce Farm) system in the Caribbean.
The Ministry of Energy and Mining and its agency, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), have a national target to increase Jamaica’s renewable energy use to 12.5% by 2015, 15% by 2020 and 20% by 2030. At present, the renewable energy supply level is 5%.
Announcing Jamaica’s new energy policy, Minister of Energy and Mining, the Hon. James Robertson, says that the search for cleaner, safer, more reliable and cheaper sources of energy and better ways to use it will unite countries around the world.
He said that the Energy Policy shows Government’s commitment to enabling Jamaican businesses to access energy, so that they can be competitive on the international market; and for individuals and households to have the energy they need to manage their daily lives in this modern economy.
“This policy will create and advance a modern, efficient, diversified and environmentally sustainable energy sector,” he said.
Mr. Robertson stresses further that a cornerstone of the policy is diversifying the energy base.
“We will find new ways to power our economy and to reduce the amount of energy we use. We will explore indigenous sources of energy and clean technologies, thereby injecting life into research institutions and generating new, ‘green’ jobs, at a time when new jobs are so sorely needed,” the Minister assures.
He said that the policy will also enable the country to reduce pollution and, thereby, protect the health of all Jamaicans as they go about their daily business.
“It will demonstrate that Jamaica is a responsible global citizen, as we minimize our emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce our carbon footprint,” he says.
It is not only Alternative Power Sources but also The Mystic Mountain ski lift rainforest ride that stands testimony to this.
Mystic Mountain is a foreign investment that is 50% powered by renewable energy which will be 100% powered by 2010, saving approximately $12 million per year in electricity bills and reducing carbon emissions or their carbon footprint.
Proprietor Michael Drakulich says that they use a hybrid system, combining wind turbines and photo voltaics, and are now constructing a mini hydro system to become totally self sufficient.
Since the park opened 18 months ago, most of the installation costs have been repaid and will be completed in another year, he said.
The renewable energy investor has also invested in a totally renewable energy townhouse complex in St Ann, which will soon be completed.
Wigton Windfarm, a subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) was incorporated in 2000 to develop wind farms, and similar renewable energy systems, to harness energy for commercial production and to generate electricity.
Wigton has been supplying wind generated energy to the JPS grid and Munro College for some time. The project is now to be expanded to meet the Ministry of Energy and Mining’s national renewable target of 11% by 2012.
Wigton Windfarm Limited states that ground breaking for the expansion will take place in March. The project will be built on a turn key basis by Vestas Eolica S.A.U with local input in engineering, studies and construction.
They advise that commissioning of the plant is scheduled to commence in July 2010. The project will be 100% financed from the PetroCaribe Development Fund.
Savings will be through energy provided to power approximately 24,000 households, overall lowering of fuel costs and expanded technical capacity in the renewable energy field for Jamaica.
Jamaica’s National Energy Policy 2009 – 2030 by establishing the protocols to securing Jamaica’s energy future will facilitate the achievement of the fundamental elements of the vision for Jamaica’s energy sector.
It provides a framework for the sustainable management of energy resources, and for development of viable renewable energy resources, with the latter expected to represent no less than 20% of the energy mix by 2030