KINGSTON — Minister of State in the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Hon. Laurence Broderick has reiterated the government’s thrust towards the further development of renewable energy sources, while it also focuses on demand reduction.
He was speaking yesterday, at the first staging of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s (PCJ) Energy Seminar Series, held at the entity’s Trafalgar Road headquarters.
The seminars are being held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Energy Future’ andare geared at sensitising the public about the importance of energy conservation and efficiency, and how they contribute to the social and economic sustainability of Jamaica.
Mr. Broderick said one of the government’s main focuses was the diversification of energy sources, which involves looking at solar, wind and water as viable options.
“We recognise here at the Ministry that if we are not diversified in our approach, then we are going to suffer, so diversification is really at the heart of the energy policy,” he noted.
“The government is also focusing on demand reduction. We, as individuals, need to examine what we are doing to help ourselves and that’s demand reduction. We have to start looking at lighting technologies, looking at what you can do yourself, looking at your habits, looking at the vehicles you drive and looking at your transportation needs,” the State Minister added.
The State Minister further noted that the seminar is being held just a day following the launch of the new phase of the Wigton Windfarm in Rose Hill, Manchester, which highlights the government’s commitment to developing alternative energy sources.
Meanwhile, Project Manager, Wigton Windfarm Limited, Michelle Chin Lenn, informed that the benefits of wind energy, from an economical, social and environmental perspective, are numerous.
She noted that just from Jamaica’s three existing windfarms, which include Wigton, Munro College and the Jamaica Public Service, the country has the potential to produce some 41.7 mega watts, which could amount to about 109.6 Giga Watt hours per year.
“That means 64,000 barrels of oil are avoided and that translates into foreign exchange savings,” she remarked, adding that the country would be saving US$5.8 million per year.
Mrs. Chin Lenn also pointed to the environmental benefits of using wind as a viable energy source.
“Wind projects emit no greenhouse gases, so if we translate that into actual tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), which can earn carbon credits, we are looking at 91,000 tonnes,” she stated.
Thursday’s seminar also saw presentations from Senior Geologist, Mines and Geology Division, Suresh Bhalai and Managing Director, Area Salvage and Contractor Ltd., Aggrey Palmer.
The energy seminars are expected to continue throughout the year in Kingston, with at least two workshops being held in other parts of the country. The workshops are expected to cover various topics on energy, including access to, and the development of renewable energy technologies; energy efficiency and conservation; energy in the transport sector; as well as the thrust to lower electricity prices.
According to the PCJ, the seminars seek to foster behaviour change in energy use, encourage conservation measures, and support the increased adoption of energy efficient products and building practices.
Several persons from various fields, including engineers, economists, householders, business operators, and students participated in the seminar.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter