JIS News

The Department of Local Government is turning to green technology in a major thrust to cut expenditure at the local government level.
One of the areas being looked at is the use of solar-powered streetlights, and the Department is already testing one of these lights on Hagley Park Road in Kingston, just outside its offices. The Department began testing the Light-emitting Diode (LED) lamp, which is powered by two solar panels, at the start of November.
Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, told JIS News that the Department is looking to place these lights in areas without electricity as well as to replace some existing streetlights with a view to reducing energy costs.
He said that on average, the Government pays the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) $300 million for streetlights. “If we can save that $300 million, I can fix more roads, clean more drains, fix more infirmaries and all of that,” he reasoned.
The eco-friendly lights cost approximately $300,000 each, but Mr. Montague explained that the energy savings will outweigh the cost and that the bulbs can last up to five years before being replaced.
“In addition to that (there is) the whole matter of carbon credits for the country in the future, because, in my view, carbon credits is going to be a tradeable currency and we can increase our carbon credits by going with alternative electricity,” the State Minister added.
The lights will be tested over a six-month period before a decision is made regarding its viability.
Also being looked at is the use of bio-digesters to break down the biodegradable waste generated in the country’s markets.
Mr. Montague informed that the Scientific Research Council (SRC) is currently working on designs for bio-digesters for the Coronation Market located in downtown Kingston, and the Charles Gordon Market in St. James.
“For example at Coronation, 22 truckloads of waste come out of Coronation on a Sunday. If we can utilise that to produce methane and then use the methane to run a generator, we can generate our own electricity and hopefully sell it back into the national grid and reduce the amount of times that we have to send the trucks down there,” he said.
Mr. Montague said the Department is also awaiting the results of tests done on biodiesel developed by Jamaica Biofuels. He said if the fuel is found to be stable enough it will be used to power some of the trucks in the National Solid Waste Management Authority’s (NSWMA) fleet.

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