Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, has underscored the deep sense of urgency with which the government is moving to deal with the high level of energy cost that is affecting the country.
“We have to find new fuel sources and so we are pursuing natural gas. We believe that there is a role for coal and I am committed one day, for Jamaica to utilise nuclear, and of course, we are determined that we need to incorporate far more renewable sources in the mix,” Mr. Paulwell said.
The Minister was speaking at the anniversary banquet to mark 50 years of Geology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), held on May 18 at the UWI Mona Visitor’s Lodge.
The Energy Minister further stated that in addition to the diversification of fuel sources, the government will have to look at the way in which energy is distributed in Jamaica.
“There is a fundamental issue that we have to deal with as a matter of urgency. I have to pursue the liberalisation of the grid and this is a task that I am firmly committed to and I think we are going to achieve it because I believe it’s a win-win for all of us,” Mr. Paulwell said.
He informed also that the Ministry is pushing ahead with plans for gas and oil in Jamaica’s waters in 2013.
“Many of you don’t know that we did do some drilling. We drilled 11wells, 10 of which had shown (oil), not in commercial quantities, but we are determined now with better science and technology to go and find those commercial sources for oil and gas,” Mr. Paulwell stated.
He added “that is how we are going to clear our debt because by that time, we would have become so fulsome in utilising renewable energy that we will be exporting our oil and gas when we find it."
Meanwhile, the Energy Minister congratulated the UWI on celebrating 50 years of Geology at the institution, while noting that he is looking forward to working with the department in enhancing its contribution to the development of the country.
The highlight of the banquet was the unveiling of the Geology 50 Time Capsule, which contains photos, maps, letters and articles that give insight into Jamaica and geology research and happenings in 2012. The capsule is set to be sealed and buried and will be reopened in 2062 on the 100th anniversary.
In 1961, the Department of Geology was set up in one of the old buildings that had been part of the Gibraltar evacuee camp during World War II.
By the middle of the year, the facility was fully staffed and teaching of the first student intake started that October.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter