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Story Highlights

  • Cabinet has approved the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) proposal to construct a 190 mega watt (MW) gas turbine power plant in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, which is expected to result in lower electricity costs for the country.
  • This new plant will replace the 292 megawatt heavy fuel oil power plants in Old Harbour and Hunts Bay, which are now obsolete.
  • This latest development in the ongoing process to procure additional electricity generating capacity for Jamaica, has been revealed by Chairman of the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), Dr. Vincent Lawrence.

Cabinet has approved the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) proposal to construct a 190 mega watt (MW) gas turbine power plant in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, which is expected to result in lower electricity costs for the country.

This new plant will replace the 292 megawatt heavy fuel oil power plants in Old Harbour and Hunts Bay, which are now obsolete.

This latest development in the ongoing process to procure additional electricity generating capacity for Jamaica, has been revealed by Chairman of the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), Dr. Vincent Lawrence.

Addressing a special Jamaica House media briefing, on Tuesday, February 3, Dr. Lawrence explained that this current power supply is very inefficient, and needs to be retired, “so we need to immediately get new generating capacity in place.”

The initiative also includes building a gas terminal near the existing JPS site in the Old Harbour Bay premises.

This is one of two proposals the company had put forward to the Government as a potential generator of electricity to the national grid. The other involves converting its feedstock at the existing Bogue power plant in Montego Bay, from automotive diesel oil to gas. The plan is to design a 115 MW gas turbine co-generation plant.

Dr. Lawrence further informed that the company has also agreed to a power tariff of no more than 12.89 US cents per kilowatt hour.

He informed that ESET will send a letter to JPS this week authorizing them to proceed with the 190 MW generating capacity.

In the meantime, two other proposals are also being analysed by ESET- the Alpart venture to build a 140 MW cogeneration power plant, to be located at the Alpart plant site at Nain, St. Elizabeth; and the Jamalco venture to build a 50 MW cogeneration power plant at the Jamalco plant site at Halse Hall, Clarendon.

Providing details on recent developments regarding the latter proposal, the Chairman informed that negotiations have been delayed due to a change in Jamalco’s ownership. The Noble Group acquired Alcoa’s shares in Jamalco in December last year.

“With the change of ownership, Noble Group has indicated a definite interest in, and commitment to ensuring an energy solution. They want to review and analyse and make their own decisions on the appropriate path,” he said.

The Chairman noted that Jamalco has assured that a decision will be made by the end of February, following its own due diligence on what are the various power generation options.

Dr. Lawrence said ESET is of the view that the two or three- month delay that this change of ownership has caused, will not impede the completion of the project.

The ESET was established by the Prime Minister in June last year to lead and manage the procurement process for the development of additional baseload generation capacity and related facilities, aimed at achieving an overall reduction in the cost of electricity to consumers.

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