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Cabinet, on Monday, reviewed a proposal for the implementation of a mandatory energy efficiency and conservation programme for the public sector.

The move comes as Government seeks to diversify energy sources and lower the energy bill, which now stands at some $13.4 billion this year for public entities.

As part of the programme, focus will be placed on education and awareness, and a strategic plan for the scope of the project, including how the target of a 30 per cent reduction in the use of energy will be achieved.

At today’s (June 13) Jamaica House press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator, the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, emphasised the importance of lowering electricity bills in the public sector.

“Our goal is that we can reduce the use of electricity. We don’t always have control over the cost because fuel prices fluctuate, but we certainly have a responsibility…Cabinet has asked that the (Energy) Minister come back with a strategic plan on how this is going to be done, so we expect to get that in short order,” she stated.

Energy is the second largest consumer of foreign exchange earnings after debt servicing.

The National Energy Policy calls for the development of an energy conservation and efficiency plan that will facilitate the engagement of all sectors of the economy and all persons in the society, in a coordinated and aggressive drive towards significantly reducing national energy consumption.

The successful implementation of this policy, along with the many proposed changes in the economy, will also have the positive effect of decoupling primary energy use from economic growth and in so doing reduce the country’s overall energy use.

This fiscal year, some $595.8 million has been allocated to the Energy Security and Efficiency Enhancement Project, which aims to promote private sector investment in the energy sector by updating the regulatory framework, preparing projects for investment decisions, and increasing the contribution of renewable energy in electricity.

It also seeks to improve energy efficiency and security in key areas of the economy, including encouraging diversification, and strengthening institutional and technical capacities for policy and strategy formulation, investment planning, project and programme implementation and sector regulation.

 

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter