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Professionals in the energy sector are now better equipped to forecast future energy needs following a two-week training course organised by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A total of 15 professionals from the Ministry of Mining and Energy, the PIOJ, Petrojam, Jamaica Public Service Company, Ministry of Transport and Works, Jamaica Bauxite Institute and other agencies, participated in the course held at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) auditorium from May 11 to May 22, where they were taught how to assess energy demand using the Model for Analysis of Energy Demand (MAED), developed by the IAEA.
Energy Planner and Economist from the IAEA, Anjana Das, who was one of the instructors, said the training course was especially relevant to Jamaica, which imports about 95 per cent of its energy needs. She said it is important to forecast the country’s demand considering that energy is not a commodity that can be stored and it takes a long time to design an energy project.
“It is important to know demand, because if you make your supply planning without knowing demand, you perhaps misuse your resources, because energy projects are very expensive,” she stated.
She pointed out that MAED is able to track energy demand by analysing data from the relevant sectors. “It takes into account all sectors which demand energy like households, industry, transportation,” she explained. The model is also able to analyse how the economy will move and how lifestyle patterns will change in order to help project future energy demand.
She indicated further that the model was developed with the energy pattern of developing countries in mind and therefore the MAED will be a useful tool for Jamaica. However, she shared that the effectiveness of the model could be reduced if there is not enough data available, which is a common problem in many developing countries.
The two-week course also facilitated training on the use of the National Energy Information system (SIEN), which will help to provide the data requirements of MAED. SEIN Professional from the Latin American Energy Organisation, Paola Carrera, explained that the system is a computer tool that can be configured according to country. The system can automatically generate data on energy, which can then be fed into the MAED as part of the process of making energy projections.
Mrs. Carrera pointed out that SEIN will help to facilitate planning. “You are going to have all the energy valences, you are going to have all the information related to the energy field, and you can make better decisions in relation to energy,” she said.
Senior Director of Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Conroy Watson, informed that the group of professionals will be meeting on a regular basis to work on the data they have gathered regarding their sector. He said that a report is to be compiled regarding Jamaica’s energy demand at the end of the year.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Marcia Forbes, explained that the training is very important to the country, especially in the sectors overseen by her Ministry. She noted that energy prices could impact on the ability of the mining sector to rebound, and therefore “for us to be able to gather data to guide us and will help us to make intelligent, informed decisions, we really appreciate it”.

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