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An Order to give the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) legal authority to continue its work in the use of renewable technology to produce energy, was endorsed by the House, yesterday (December 13).
Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell noted that the PCJ has been involved in the use of renewable technology to produce energy for some time, with extensive work being done in the production of solar, hydro and kinetic power.
He said the resolution would serve to “clear up a deficiency in the current regulation to ensure that there is appropriate legal authority for the PCJ to be so involved”.
The Minister said the Government’s pro-active policy towards renewables was evidenced in its determination to have a 15 per cent contribution from renewable sources as part of its electricity mix by 2015.
Commenting on the success of the Wigton Windfarm in Southern Manchester, he pointed out that despite reservations about the natural elements and the potential impact on the windfarm, it successfully survived Hurricane Ivan and was now generating 20.7 megawatts of power.
Mr. Paulwell informed that earnings were being made from the sale of electricity to the national grid as well as from the sale of carbon dioxide.
“When the country is able to forego the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity, we will be in a position to quantify the amount of carbon dioxide that we are no longer contributing to the environment and we will be able to sell that, and since the wind farm, we have been able to save 85,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide,” he noted.
The Minister reported that an agreement has been signed with the Netherlands Government for the sale of the excess carbon dioxide. He said the sale would see the country realizing $200 million in profits over the next nine years.
Mr. Paulwell said the area was one in which the private sector should get involved as by the first of January, individuals wishing to participate in the field would no longer have to negotiate private power purchase arrangements with the Jamaica Public Service Company, as they would be able to obtain licensing through the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the Commerce Ministry. “They will be able to sell directly to the grid,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, the Minister said there would be an introduction of a net metering policy, which would allow any individual who produced electricity for personal use, to be able to sell the surplus to the JPSCo without having to go through the means of a power purchase agreement.
Opposition Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Clive Mullings said the efforts to explore renewable sources should be applauded. However, he urged entrepreneurs to find ways of driving the research into renewable energy sources, so as to maximize the gains from this area.