The National Water Commission (NWC) is to pursue the use of renewable energy, as a means of reducing its high energy cost.
Addressing a press conference at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) on June 27, NWC President, Albert Gordon, explained that the utility company will be rehabilitating a number of old concrete tanks and in the process will be using photovoltaic panels to replace some of the concrete covers, thereby generating its own power.
He also informed that the NWC is looking at potential sites for developing hydro power, pointing out that the Water Resources Authority (WRA) is doing a feasibility study and “based on that, we are hoping we can get involved in generating some of the energy that we need from hydro.”
Mr. Gordon noted too, that there have been discussions with the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, the Hon. Phillip Paulwell, regarding the use of wind energy and in particular the Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester.
“To the extent that we can generate our own power, even if it is not at the location that we need it, then we would also utilize the recently promulgated wheeling power policy, so that if we are generating at a particular location we can have that power delivered to a pump or a demand centre somewhere else in the country, using the JPS grid,” he said.
Mr. Gordon further informed that the NWC will be reconfiguring its ‘pump and tank programme,’ where water is directly pumped to tanks and then gravity fed to customers. He explained that this was the original design facility in a number of areas; however demand has outgrown what exists now, both in terms of quantity and pattern.
“Some people now live above the storage tanks so, we have to get storage tanks above them, to be able to pump and gravity feed to them. That will also allow us to pump during off peak hours when the electricity rates are significantly lower and then we can store and gravity feed customers,” he said.
The NWC uses approximately five per cent of the total energy consumed in the country and is aiming for a 30 per cent reduction in energy costs over the next five years, according to Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who made his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 26.
Mr. Pickersgill informed that in addition to resorting to the production of alternative energy, the utility company will replace 320 old inefficient pumps and rehabilitate 288 tanks with the necessary controls to prevent overflows.
Contact: Andrea Braham