KINGSTON — The Department of Local Government is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with American company, Green Energy Management, to test a new set of solar energy technologies.
The partnership forms part of the Department’s thrust to establish a number of alternative energy projects.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Hon. Robert Montague made the announcement at a media roundtable, organised by the Department of Local Government at its Hagley Park Road offices on June 14.
He explained that the Department had embarked on a number of alternative energy projects at the community level, including a windmill and solar panel, which is now being installed at the Trelawny Infirmary, and solar street lights.
Meanwhile, he noted that in 2009, the Department embarked on “an ambitious and cost-saving experiment in the form of using bio-diesel for our solid waste trucks”. This involved 20 trucks at an initial investment outlay of $273,000, using 3,650 litres of biodiesel, in partnership with Jamaica Biofuels.
“We used to collect all the used oil from hotels and restaurants and then truck them to Montego Bay. We handed that oil to Jamaica Biofuels, and they had a 96 per cent conversion rate of oil to biodiesel,” Mr. Montague explained.
He said the experiment proved successful, saving the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) 20 per cent in fuel and operational costs.
“There is every intention to broaden the application of this to other fleets in the local government system,” Mr. Montague said.
Mr. Montague also updated the media on other areas of his portfolio, such as: property tax collection; innovation in the operations of the NSWMA; improvements in the Jamaica Fire Brigade; energy saving initiatives; income generating activities for parish councils; increased efficiencies in the development approval process; the Ananda Alert system; disaster preparedness; infirmaries; and the financial management system for parish councils.
By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter