JIS News

The government, in the next two weeks, will launch its energy efficiency and conservation programme, aimed at saving more that $2 billion per year in energy costs.

This was announced by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell on April 19, 2012 as he addressed the opening of the Jamaica Power Summit 2012 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

To be financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mr. Paulwell said the programme objective will be realised through the design and implementation of cost saving measures.

“This is a notable case of government leading by example because the measures to be implemented will stand as an example for the private sector to emulate…what is significant is that we, the government, have done our energy audit, and the results are amazing,” he said.

The Minister said that if the energy efficiency recommendations of the audit, including retrofits, are implemented “we can cut public sector energy consumption by some 25 per cent and realise savings of some $2.6 billion per year”.

“What that means, (is that) we will reduce the demand for electricity by 15 mega watts (MW) to 55 MW, or 101 million kilowatts per hour (KWH) per year or 175,000 barrels of oil. At world prices of approximately $110 a barrel, the savings we will realise from this investment will allow this project to pay for itself in less than four years,” he assured.

Also associated with that project, Mr. Paulwell informed, is a joint initiative of his Ministry and Local Government and Community Development, where a taskforce has been assembled to assess how best the country can reduce the consumption associated with streetlights.

The taskforce, he said, looked at what sort of savings the country could accrue from an audit of the working lights, “since we currently pay for the lights en masse, whether they work or not. We also looked at changing the bulbs to energy-savinglight-emitting diode(LED) fixtures, and whether there were any additional savings to be accrued from the use of solar. We will be pursuing the replacement of current bulbs with LED fittings.”

He added that the government’s vision is for a modern, efficient, diversified and sustainable energy sector that supplies all productive sectors of the country, and to have no less than 20 per cent of the country’s energy being supplied from renewable sources.

“Right now, our current electricity rate of US$0.40 per KWH is unacceptable and unsustainable, and the government is committed to reducing the cost of electricity in the shortest possible time,” Mr. Paulwell said.

The two-day summit was staged by the United States-based Electric Utility Consultants, Inc. (EUCI), and is sponsored by the Caribbean Energy Information System, Scientific Research Council, and Mergermarket. The event features multiple sessions that will review traditional, renewable, and alternative power sources available to the island.

Industry professionals will discuss energy development issues related to policy and regulation, financing and legal issues, and technology implementation related to low-cost reliability. The discussions will be concerned with the Caribbean region and improving intraregional cooperation.


By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter