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Story Highlights

  • The Government has signed a $45 million contract for technical assistance towards the promotion and development of cost effective, small hydro-power projects across Jamaica.
  • Argentinean company, BA Energy Solutions, in association with United States-based, Hydro Science Consulting, has been awarded the 12-month contract.
  • It will involve feasibility studies, and assistance and guidance to key agencies in the administration of hydro-power development in Jamaica.

The Government has signed a $45 million contract for technical assistance towards the promotion and development of cost effective, small hydro-power projects across Jamaica.

Argentinean company, BA Energy Solutions, in association with United States-based, Hydro Science Consulting, has been awarded the 12-month contract.

It will involve feasibility studies, and assistance and guidance to key agencies in the administration of hydro-power development in Jamaica.

The agreement will also support the development and implementation of departmental policies and procedures, for the effective management of hydro-power projects from design, to operation.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, on May 27, at the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining in New Kingston, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said the project holds great potential for Jamaica, and augurs well for its energy security efforts.

He noted that hydro-power is a relatively viable solution for Jamaica’s energy needs.

Hydro-power or water power is energy derived from the force of falling water and running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes.

Mr. Paulwell informed that Jamaica has several sites where small hydro-power capacity could be developed and harnessed for use.

He explained that about 15 megawatts of the total 23 megawatts of small hydro potential in the island is considered firm, while the rest is variable, due to seasonal changes in the stream flow.

The Minister informed that a recent assessment conducted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean to determine the hydro-power potential at 11 sites across Jamaica, found that most sites demonstrated a potential capacity of some 2.5 megawatts or more. This amounts to a total potential of 33.4 megawatts.

Mr. Paulwell noted that although 33.4 megawatts is not a large share of Jamaica’s nearly 1,000 megawatt of current power capacity, the figure “is still very significant”.

“We have very high expectations from the results of the feasibility studies and with more projects like these coming on stream we can make significant steps towards achieving our goal of energy independence and security,” he stated.

He said the country’s small hydro-power resources can play an important role in providing low cost current to the electricity grid, as well as expanding energy access to remote locations.

The programme will be implemented by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), with funding from the World Bank, under the Government’s Energy Security Efficiency and Enhancement Project.