Cabinet Approves JPS’ Acquisition of Gas Turbine


Cabinet has given approval for the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to procure and install a 40-megawatt gas turbine, in order to boost the light and energy company’s generating capacity.
Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, told journalists at Jamaica House on (Jan. 23), that the move is aimed at averting a possible energy shortage, which he said, could occur in 2009, if no immediate action is taken.
The acquisition of the turbine is one of several initiatives to come out of last week’s Cabinet retreat to address matters affecting the country.
Mr. Golding said that the report of a technical team, which conducted a study on the JPS’ system, indicated that, “if a decision is not made now, we would start to run into a critical energy shortage by the middle of 2009, because we would not have the generating capacity to meet the demands of the country”.
“So Cabinet had to take a decision to authorize the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the Ministry of Energy, Mining, and Telecommunications to begin to have discussions with the JPS, and to indicate to them that Government will approve the installation of a 40-megawatt gas turbine unit, which is something that can be done within 12 months, and to ensure that this is done so that there is no shortage of energy come 2009,” he informed.
Mr. Golding noted that while medium or slow speed diesels turbines are arguably far more efficient than the gas turbines, it will take a minimum of four years to get a slow speed diesel. “We took a decision that we cannot afford to have this country locking off power.rationing power by the middle of next year,” the Prime Minister said.
In the meantime, he said that the Government will be looking to diversify energy arrangements by establishing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
“To that end, discussions are being held now to ensure that we can secure long-term supply contracts of LNG. Discussions are going to be held regarding the facilities that need to be installed, and the investment that will have to be made in those facilities to ensure that we can utilize LNG. The thinking, of course, is that LNG will replace a substantial amount of the JPS’ capacity now, which needs to be retired. The JPS has some gas turbines, some of them more than 30 years old, which are inefficient and need to be taken out of service,” Mr. Golding stated.

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