Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson, has said that consultations are being conducted with energy stakeholders toward replacing oil with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Speaking at the Green Expo 2009 launch on May 13 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, Mr. Robertson said the Government was strident in its position on LNG, considering that some 98 per cent of the country’s electricity generation uses oil.
“LNG is the most friendly-environmental source of generating electricity, outside of the renewable forms,” he pointed out.
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson (second right), listens to Chairman of Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust(JCDT), Robert Stephens, (third left) at the launch of Green Expo 2009, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (May 13). Sharing in the occasion are: (from left) Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Peter Knight; Sales Manager, Marketing, Promotions Sales at Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Judy Benjamin; and, Resident Co-ordinator at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Minh Pham.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding had announced that conversion to LNG remains the preferred alternative to oil, during his Budget presentation at Gordon House on Tuesday (May 5).
Mr. Golding said that Cabinet would issue the necessary policy directions to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to invite proposals from potential investors, for the development of critical infrastructure to facilitate conversion from oil to gas for electricity generation.
At the Green Expo 2009 launch, Mr. Robertson said that stakeholder meetings were being held with the Jamaica Public Service Company and other energy industry players in an effort to introduce LNG on a large scale in Jamaica, within the quickest possible time.
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson (third right), in discussions with organisers and sponsors of Green Expo 2009, which was launched at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston on Wednesday (May 13). From left are: Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency(NEPA), Peter Knight; Sales Manager, Marketing, Promotions Sales at Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Judy Benjamin; Chairman of Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), organisers of the Expo, Robert Stephens; Resident Co-ordinator at the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), Minh Pham; and, Head of Corporate Communications at the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), Winsome Callum.
“We have accepted that it is impossible for us to run a country where 98 per cent of our energy generation comes from oil. It’s not possible, it’s unsustainable,” the Minister stressed.
Mr. Robertson said that he has been instructed to have the National Energy Policy completed by the end of June. Tabled as a Green Paper in Parliament in 2006, and aimed at effectively managing and developing the energy sector, the policy proposals are now being reviewed in light of the long delay.
“The Prime Minister and the Cabinet have given me six weeks to pull together the different areas of the policy. A lot of it has already been out there, most of you have seen it, but there are some weaknesses, and it needs to be pulled together, and I have been given until the end of June to get this task accomplished,” Mr. Robertson said.
On the subject of mining, the Minister disclosed that this Saturday there will be a tour of Lydford Park in St. Ann, a major mining development initiative.
“We will be looking at how we are going to continue to drive mining and the development of Jamaica and, at the same time, keep the green issues balanced,” he noted.
Minister Robertson commended Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) for conceptualising the Expo, which returns on June 5-7, after a four-year hiatus.
“If Jamaica is not seen as a green country, our tourism product will suffer. So we cannot develop Jamaica unless it is along green lines,” he said.
The JCDT will be staging its sixth annual Green Expo, with the theme, “Let’s Take Good Care of Jamaica”, during National Environmental Awareness Week at the National Area in Kingston.
Executive Director of JCDT, Susan Otuokon, in providing an overview of the expo, said that there will be something for everyone.
Over the three days, the environmental exposition will feature exhibits from the private sector, government agencies, non-government and community-based organisations, while exposing the public to environmental legislation and environmentally-friendly products.
Among the displays at the Expo, will be a demonstration of a “green” house designed by Sean Wright, an architectural master’s student at the University of Technology. The house features several energy saving building techniques, such as bathroom fixtures which reduce the use of water.
The main themes for Green Expo 2009 will be – climate change, alternative energy and energy conservation.