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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says improving energy efficiency is imperative if Jamaica is to realize savings in energy costs, which is estimated at US$10.4 million per month.

He was speaking at the official launch of the ‘Developing an Energy Services Company (ESCO) in Jamaica’ project yesterday (November 8), at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Jointly financed by the European Union (EU) and the Government of Jamaica at a cost of some $66 million (€576,546), the project will provide for the development of a sustainable energy industry that will deliver savings in cost and consumption of energy.

It also has the potential to create new businesses, generate new jobs, and mitigate climate change through reduced carbon emissions.

According to Minister Kellier, the development of an ESCO industry in Jamaica is crucial, given the country’s high dependence on and consumption of imported oil, and the fluctuating and often volatile price of the commodity.

Nearly 95 per cent of the country’s energy consumption is generated from imports. In addition, Jamaica uses about two barrels of oil for every US$1,000 of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as opposed to more energy efficient countries such as Costa Rica, which uses 0.75 of a barrel of oil per US$1,000 GDP.

The Minister noted that the project is also consistent with and supports Jamaica’s National Energy Policy, National Energy Conservation and Efficiency Policy, and National Renewable Energy Policy.

Head of Delegation of the EU to Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, said the organisation’s support, which comes through its Energy Facility, “signifies its commitment to assist Jamaica to mobilize the untapped potential for energy savings and to realise the financial returns of the investments”.

“The European Union is committed to supporting Jamaica in realising its vision to provide for the country, a secure and sustainable energy supply, through diversification of the supply and promotion of energy efficiency and conservation measures,” she added.

An ESCO is an energy services provider (ESP) that combines several efficiency and renewable energy measures to develop an energy savings project. It offers services such as auditing, technology upgrade or retrofit, design, implementation and maintenance.

The ESCO Jamaica project, which is expected to last 36 months, provides for the introduction of new business models to enable increased levels of investment in and implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; and facilitates increased stakeholder dialogue, trust and confidence in the industry.

It will also raise the level of awareness and understanding of the business of energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

The ESCO Jamaica project is being implemented by the Jamaica Productivity Centre, which falls under the Labour Ministry, with support from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ).