JIS News

Minister of Energy, Clive Mullings, has said that sugar cane, which was once the symbol of slavery in Jamaica and the Caribbean, is today, the key to liberating the country from its dependence on oil.
The Minister made the statement at a JIS, Think Tank, session yesterday (Sept. 24), where he spoke about the energy challenges facing the country and possible solutions, such as the upcoming introduction of the E10 ethanol blended fuel to be sold at service stations.
“This [project] is not only significant in terms of its economic impact. It is significant in terms of how it feeds into diversification as a policy and a greater philosophical point is that we will be utilising sugar cane, which as you all know, symbolises our slavery. Now we are taking control and utilising that very resource to liberate us and find an answer to a problem that is confronting the world,” he said.
“We can’t do without energy; it is a basic formula of life. By virtue of this challenge…that we have this dependence on oil, the answer must clearly be diversification from that because if we don’t do that, it means that we will be open and vulnerable,” he added.
According to Minister Mullings the E10 initiative is one of the Government’s most important projects and is a core part of its diversification strategy, geared at providing some level of energy security for Jamaica.
“We have to see how we can diversify. Our most critical project in terms of timeline and impact will be on November 1 this year, when we will be rolling out the 10 per cent ethanol blend in gasoline,” the Minister informed.
“This is significant because it’s going to be a renewable resource so unlike oil which is finite, we will be growing our fuel, and it will take pressure off our foreign exchange, so at least we will have a displacement of 10 per cent of the cost that will be required in terms of foreign exchange disbursements,” he explained while adding that, “it is a cleaner burning fuel and it should be competitive in price.”
E10, which is fully compatible with existing blends, will be introduced on a phased basis beginning with the city of Kingston.
“On the 1st of November, those stations that are served from the Kingston terminal will be getting 10 per cent ethanol in the 87 gasoline. We have been working with the marketing companies and the Jamaica Gasoline Retailers Association (JGRA) and as such things are on target. We have inspectors going through stations, looking at stations that have to be upgraded and those stations that are ready to take the product,” he pointed out.
“We anticipate there is going to be great demand for it because it is going to be competitive in price,” he argued.