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    • State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has welcomed the installation of renewable energy and energy efficient infrastructure at three locations across the island, which is already realising significant savings from facilities.
    • The energy systems, inclusive of solar panels and wind turbines, have been installed at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) marine laboratories in Port Royal, Kingston and Discovery Bay, St. Ann; and also at the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.
    • They were provided at a cost of over J$23 million (US$200,000) under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (REEEP), which involves partnership with the United States Department of the Interior’s International Technical Assistance Programme (USDoI-ITAP).

    State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has welcomed the installation of renewable energy and energy efficient infrastructure at three locations across the island, which is already realising significant savings from facilities.

    The energy systems, inclusive of solar panels and wind turbines, have been installed at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) marine laboratories in Port Royal, Kingston and Discovery Bay, St. Ann; and also at the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.

    They were provided at a cost of over J$23 million (US$200,000) under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (REEEP), which involves partnership with the United States Department of the Interior’s International Technical Assistance Programme (USDoI-ITAP).

    The projects are already bearing fruit since their implementation over the past 12 months, with UWI reporting a 95 per cent reduction in public electricity demand at the Port Royal laboratory, equating to monthly savings of approximately J$59,405 (US$900).

    Additionally, there is a 36 per cent reduction in costs at Discovery Bay, with monthly savings averaging approximately J$83,167 (US$700), while at the National Park, there has been a substantial reduction in the percentage electricity accessed from public supply, among other positives.

    Speaking at Monday’s (September 21) commissioning of facilities at the Port Royal Marine Lab, Mr. Robinson hailed the projects as a commitment to energy diversification, and reducing costs.

    He said the undertaking “also supports the strategies of the Government (of Jamaica) to diversify our energy portfolio and reduce electricity prices. By doing so, we intend to achieve greater economic growth through investments and increased business competitiveness.”

    In his remarks, United States Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Luis G. Moreno, described the projects as the culmination of a “highly successful partnership” between agencies and organisations in Jamaica and the United States.

    UWI Mona Bursar, Elaine Robinson, who represented Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Archibald McDonald, said the infrastructure installed at the marine laboratories “have put us on the launching pad for use of renewable energy across the campus.”

    She said the association with REEEP will better position the campus to undertake  such initiatives.

    “We also expect that the systems that have been installed at…these two locations (Port Royal and Discovery Bay) will become more financially viable and sustainable,” she said.

    She expressed the hope that the project “will succeed in changing attitudes and generate positive action towards the environment and climate change issues in all segments of our society.”

    Manager of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, Dr. Susan Otuokon, in also expressing gratitude, indicated that the project has been useful in “helping us to achieve some of our goals in terms of environmental education and promoting sustainable livelihoods and development.”

    The provision of the renewable energy infrastructure is aimed at enhancing operations at the three locations, reducing the demand for electricity from the national power grid and, in the process, generate significant savings and heightening public education and awareness about renewable energy and energy efficiency.