The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) says that by June 2019, 45 percent of the energy it supplies to the country will come from cheaper, cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG).
By then, the power company’s Old Harbour and Jamaica Aluminium Company (Jamalco) plants will come on stream to join the Bogue facility in St. James, which received its first shipment of LNG in October 2016.
“That is going to leave us with about 40 percent fossil fuel and 15 percent renewable,” said JPS Regional Director for Western Jamaica, T’Shura Gibbs in an interview with JIS News.
She noted that the renewables will be from solar, wind and hydropower, “which are also a growing part of the energy mix”.
JPS, in August, signed a power purchase agreement with United States company, New Fortress South Power Holdings Limited, for the construction of a 94-megawatt (MW) power plant on the grounds of the Jamalco bauxite operations in Clarendon.
New Fortress will also supply the power entity’s 190MW gas-fired power plant being developed in Old Harbour, St Catherine.
Ms. Gibbs said that in addition to bringing diversity to the choice of fuels available locally, natural gas is expected to reduce environmental emissions and provide greater stability in prices.
“It will be a cleaner and greener environment,” she noted. “It is moving away from the heavy oil… the dirty oil. It is about using clean oil to generate electricity,” she added.
Ms. Gibbs said that unlike fossil fuel “where the price is volatile and up and down, “there is more stability when it comes to LNG”.
“What this means is that businesses will now be able to put budgets in place as it relates to planning for the future and the price of energy,” she pointed out, noting that residential customers will start to see some true benefits.
Ms. Gibbs noted that last year when oil had dropped to a surprisingly low $30 per
barrel, persons questioned the wisdom of continuing on the pathway of LNG “without taking into consideration that inevitably it would go back up”.
“That’s the thing about fuel,” she argued. “The price is so volatile that something in the market will always trigger a response. It was 13 years that Jamaica was trying to bring LNG as an alternative energy source and, thankfully, we were able to finally achieve that last year,” she said.
“This is all about clean energy, reliable energy and, most importantly, the creation of jobs and community development,” she added.
The introduction of LNG to the local energy mix is in keeping with the Government’s drive to bring cheaper and cleaner energy to the people of Jamaica.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, in a recent visit to the JPS Bogue plant, pointed out that the introduction of LNG “represents a significant boost to the country’s diversification efforts and economic endeavours”.
He said it comes at an opportune time when the country is continuing the pursuit of alternative fuel sources and creating the architecture for a sustainable energy future