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Story Highlights

  • The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has invested $22 million in the installation of variable frequency drives (VFDs) at the National Irrigation Commission’s (NIC) six pumping facilities across the island.
  • The VFDs, located at sites in St. Catherine, Clarendon, Trelawny and St. Elizabeth, are expected to efficiently regulate the utilisation of energy in pumping and supplying irrigation water to farmers.
  • A VFD is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the electric motor.

The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has invested $22 million in the installation of variable frequency drives (VFDs) at the National Irrigation Commission’s (NIC) six pumping facilities across the island.

The VFDs, located at sites in St. Catherine, Clarendon, Trelawny and St. Elizabeth, are expected to efficiently regulate the utilisation of energy in pumping and supplying irrigation water to farmers.

A VFD is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the electric motor.

The use of this technology is expected to save the NIC $18 million annually and reduce the entity’s energy usage by 535.6 megawatt hours each year.

Speaking at a handover ceremony at Clarendon Park Gardens on Tuesday, November 10, State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, commended the efforts of the PCJ in reducing energy costs in the public sector.

He noted that the entity has been making “strategic interventions” at organisations that have a large demand for energy in order to cut costs and improve efficiencies in their service delivery.

Earlier this year, the PCJ installed energy-efficient air-conditioning systems at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine and the Annotto Bay Hospital in St. Mary.  The combined impact of these two projects should result in the country saving close to $3.5 million each year.

The PCJ’s Group General Manager, Winston Watson, said the provision of the systems is in keeping with the agency’s mandate to slash the country’s high energy bill, which amounts to some $14 billion per annum.  “Each energy efficiency project we complete helps to reduce the total spend,” he pointed out.

Director of Engineering and Technical Services at the NIC, Milton Henry, expressed gratitude for the VFDs.

He said they will go a far way in helping to reduce the NIC’s $600 million energy bill or 40 per cent of their budget, which is paid out to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS).

Mayor of May Pen, Councillor Scean Barnswell and Councillor of the Toll Gate Division, Godfrey Knight, also commended the work done by the PCJ.

The VFDs were supplied by Electronic Power Solutions Limited (EPSOL), which also conducted training of NIC personnel in the operation of the equipment.