JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications, Laurence Broderick is proposing a diversification in the types of energy fuel used to power the operations of the local bauxite and alumina sector.
This, he said, is against the background of the spiraling increases in the cost of fuel globally, and the significantly high percentage of the country’s oil imports consumed by the sector.
Speaking in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House on July 9, Mr. Broderick pointed out that the price of a barrel of oil has jumped from an average of US$25 in 2002, to a high of US$145 at the beginning of July this year, noting that “between September 2007 and July 2008, the average price has increased by 100 per cent.”
The State Minister noted that in 2006, the sector consumed over 9.5 million barrels of oil, representing 33 per cent of Jamaica’s overall fuel imports that year, which exceeded public consumption.
“In comparison, the public electricity generating sector consumed 6.3 million barrels, which represented 22 per cent of oil imports. In 2007, the cost of fuel oil consumed by the (bauxite and alumina) sector was estimated at approximately US$420 million,” Mr. Broderick informed.
He advised that the utilization of coal as part of a broader co-generation strategy has enormous possibilities of enhancing power generation efficiency, and operational cost effectiveness.
“The current situation requires a disciplined diversification of the energy mix as well as the sources of supply. In the near future, LNG (liquefied natural gas) and coal are likely to present appealing diversification possibilities,” the State Minister said.
He argued that there is the need to install the requisite infrastructure and capacity to support the fuel source decided on, within the shortest possible time, stressing that the resultant effects on the environment should be borne in mind.
“Notwithstanding the direction in which we are pointed, we must at all times be mindful of the environmental impact of the fuel type selected,” Mr. Broderick emphasised.