A total of 11 individuals and companies have been approved by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), to supply excess energy to the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS).
The group, which include residential and commercial customers, were presented with net billing licences by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, during a meeting of the Jamaica Energy Council at Jamaica House, in St. Andrew.
The licence gives approval to individuals or companies that generate their own energy through the use of renewable sources, such as wind turbines or solar systems, to sell their excess electricity to the light and power company. Mr. Paulwell informed that a twelfth application is still under review.
The new licences will provide up to 100 kilowatts of energy to the JPS at a cost of approximately US$0.25 per kilowatt hour. Residential customers are limited to between 0 and 10 kilowatts, while commercial customers have a limit of 0 to 100 kilowatts.
Minister Paulwell said the new provision is expected to have a positive effect on the penetration and uptake of renewable energy technology by providing an additional financial incentive to persons generating electricity from renewable sources.
This, he said, will certainly further solidify plans to liberalise the local energy sector and kick into play the process of net billing.
Net billing refers to the process of energy exchange. Under the framework, individuals are able to buy electricity from a utility company at one rate and, if they generate excess energy via a renewable energy source, they are able to sell that back to the utility company at another rate. By balancing the amount owed for energy used and the amount earned for energy sold, a customer may either reduce his bill or earn a credit with the utility company.
Mr. Paulwell encouraged other Jamaicans to come forward, "as the government looks towards enlarging its ambition in relation to renewable energy."
In the meantime, Deputy Director General, Office of Utilities Regulation, Hopeton Heron, informed that the framework for net billing has been solidified via the JPS Company Limited Standard Offer Contract (SOC) for the ‘Purchase of As-Available Intermittent Energy from Renewable Energy Facilities' up to 100 kilowatts.
The contract, he explained, is valid for five years, and that the OUR has determined that the SOC arrangement will be initially implemented under a pilot for two years, at an aggregate capacity of two per cent of JPS' highest demand peak. He said an assessment of the impact on the JPS' network will be done at the end of that period, with a view to removing or expanding the cap as is deemed appropriate.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter