JIS News

Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon James Robertson, has said that the public sector will have a role to play in reducing energy consumption, through the implementation of the Energy Conservation and Efficiency Policy (ECE).
“The Policy will be used to identify strategies and propose that a targeted approach be taken, with emphasis on public awareness, provision of financing and the establishment of an appropriate institutional framework,” Mr. Robertson said.
He was speaking at a workshop on energy saving opportunities on Thursday (December 2) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. He noted that the government intends to ensure that the public sector implements ECE initiatives, urgently.
“Our efforts in this area, and the support being provided to us by the Inter American Development Bank, will ensure that government ministries, departments and agencies become models of efficient energy usage and environmental stewardship,” Mr. Robertson said.
He stated that this would provide the stimulus to encourage the rest of the society to accept, and adopt measures to increase efficiency in energy use.
“We cannot build this energy sector alone, everyone has a role to play; the Government ministries and agencies who would lead the way, along with industries and small businesses, communities, schools and other academic research institutions,” he added.
The government currently pays $880 million monthly for electricity used by its agencies, departments and schools, with a yearly cost of $11 billion.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who also spoke, noted that Jamaica has one of the highest energy intensive ratings in the world.
“We use 20,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) to produce US$1 of output. The global average is less than a quarter of that. We waste energy in Jamaica and, therefore, Jamaica’s economic future cannot be secured, unless we address this problem and address it in a fundamental way, in a game changing way,” Mr. Golding said.
He added that Jamaica needed to use its energy more efficiently, and generating plants, based on 1970s technology, will have to be replaced with newer ones. He also stated that the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) are working together to improve transmission efficiency.
He said that Jamaicans pay close to 30 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, roughly half of which is the cost of generating the electricity, while the other 14 cents is the cost of getting it to the consumer.
“In the process of getting it to the consumer, a significant percentage of it disappears, some of it into the atmosphere and some into homes that have never been accustomed to paying their bills,” Mr. Golding said.
He added that energy efficiency has to go beyond the realm of the public sector, and the whole country will have to be engaged, but the public sector needs to set an example.
The workshop is being held in conjunction with the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) and the Ministry of Energy and Mining. The objectives are to: identify inefficient energy consumption systems and practices; present options for the improvement of efficiency; and to evaluate the necessary resources.