KINGSTON — The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has been given the green light by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), to construct a 360MW Combined Cycle modern plant.
A release from the OUR Thursday (December 08) said that the regulatory agency has awarded the JPS the right to complete the plant by mid-2014, as part of a project to supply up to 480 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity for the country.
The OUR noted that the project, which will be one of the largest private sector investments to be made in Jamaica to modernize and upgrade the electricity sector, will form the basis for the reduction in the electricity tariffs and growth in the productive sector.
“Following the issuance of a Request for Proposals from the OUR, the JPS on April 29 2011, emerged as the sole bidder to supply new Generating Capacity of up to 480MW net to the national grid on a Build Own and Operate Basis (BOO),” the OUR explained.
“This new capacity shall be base-load, and is intended for the displacement of approximately 292 MW of aged plants, with the remainder to provide for load growth."
The JPS had announced earlier this year that it will invest over US$500 million in modernizing, and make more efficient, its operations in Jamaica. JPS said that the investment will amount to more than half of its total assets, but would translate into lower cost of electricity generation and lower costs to its customers.
The company also said that, over the next five years, it aims to improve the quality of its customer service and customer satisfaction, improve operational efficiency, reduce system losses and modernise its units.
JPS currently generates 68 per cent of Jamaica’s electricity power, the remainder being supplied to the company by smaller energy partners, including Jamaica Energy Partners, Wigton Wind Farms and Jamaica Broilers. However, with the investment in alternative energy sources, including wind and hydro as part of its modernisation process, the dependence on oil based energy should decrease in coming years and with it the cost of electricity to customers.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor