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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica continues to realise massive savings from the Energy Conservation and Diversification Programme, with the cost of electricity falling from US$0.42 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2012 to US$0.26 this year.
  • The drop in the base rate of electricity has surpassed the 2016 target of US$0.30 per kWh set by the Government.
  • Minister Paulwell credited the achievement to the Government’s pursuit and implementation of energy conservation methods, as well as falling oil prices.

Jamaica continues to realise massive savings from the Energy Conservation and Diversification Programme, with the cost of electricity falling from US$0.42 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2012 to US$0.26 this year.

The drop in the base rate of electricity has surpassed the 2016 target of US$0.30 per kWh set by the Government.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who provided the update at the Partnership for Jamaica (PFJ) Retreat held recently, at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston, credited the achievement to the Government’s pursuit and implementation of energy conservation methods, as well as falling oil prices.

“The Government is being relentless in enabling and pursuing all those plans and projects to get us below the target that was established,” he said.

Minister Paulwell said most of the savings has been in the public sector through the retrofitting of entities with energy-efficiency technologies. These included the application of cool roof solutions to 14 facilities; solar control film to 39 facilities; and the implementation of three air conditioning contracts valuing US$14,161,225.05.

These projects have resulted in total saving of $80,470,590, which is equivalent to 1,740,363.90 kWh or 1,077.00 barrels of oil.

He reported that the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has also invested $113.8 million in solar PV solutions and air conditioning retrofits to several educational and health service facilities.

The Minister further cited a dramatic increase in the use of solar energy among residential customers. “This has been driven by our policy to remove taxation from solar systems including batteries,” he noted.

He said the Ministry is in the process of resuming the granting of licences for net billing arrangements, which allows persons, who generate electricity from renewable sources to sell the excess to the national grid. Over 200 net billing licences have been granted to date.

Minister Paulwell called for the private sector “to get on board” and join the discussion in helping to reduce the yearly electricity bill of $14 billion per annum.

“An important decision that we are discussing and would like to get your input [is] how to get the private sector in the energy business,” he told the retreat.

Minister Paulwell highlighted three projects that are expected to further transform the energy landscape. These include the 24-megawatt expansion at the Wigton Wind Farm; a 36-Megawatt wind farm in Malvern, St. Elizabeth; and a 20-megawatt solar energy power plant in Clarendon.

He also informed that plans are being finalised to put a percentage of the Wigton Wind Farm on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

The Partnership for Jamaica Agreement, have among its objectives, the reduction of Jamaica’s energy cost; increasing the use of solar and other forms of renewables in energy diversification efforts; and reviewing taxes on and pricing of petroleum products.