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  • Some US$200 million has been invested in various renewable energy initiatives scheduled to come on stream by the end of 2016, says Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson.
  • He said that among the projects are the US$45 million expansion of the Wigton Windfarm in Manchester.
  • The State Minister said the Government’s focus on renewable energy solutions is well placed.

Some US$200 million has been invested in various renewable energy initiatives scheduled to come on stream by the end of 2016, says Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson.

He said that among the projects are the US$45 million expansion of the Wigton Windfarm in Manchester; and the recent signing of a US$47 million financing agreement with WRB Enterprises and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for development of a 20 megawatt solar plant in York Town, Clarendon.

The State Minister, who was addressing the official opening of the Jamaica Alternative Energy Expo on June 29, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, said the Government’s focus on renewable energy solutions is well placed.

“Reliable energy sources have revealed that alternative energy technologies, such as wind, solar, and electrical storage, continued to gain ground in 2014, with solar, in particular, capturing almost 50 per cent of all global investments in clean energy, which grew to over $310 billion in 2014,” he informed.

He noted that the Wigton Windfarm is the largest wind energy facility in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean, providing more than 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity to the grid on an annual basis.

“When the new 24-mega watts generating plant comes on stream in early 2016, it will increase renewable energy input to the grid by two per cent,” he pointed out.

As it regards the development of the 20-megawatt solar plant in York Town, Clarendon, Mr. Robinson said when the facility is completed, it will be one of the largest solar projects constructed in the Caribbean.

“It is of strategic national importance to Jamaica and is one of three successfully selected proposals from among 24 other projects….to provide a total of 115MW of renewable energy to the Jamaican power grid,” he pointed out.

The State Minister said there are also prospects for hydro power development, following the completion of feasibility studies late last year, which identified 26 MW in hydro potential from six local rivers.

“The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) will be carrying out an aggressive marketing drive to attract investment to exploit these commercial opportunities while increasing Jamaica’s renewable energy supply,” he informed.

Mr. Robinson noted that these projects, among others, are being pursued to increase renewable power generation to about 20 per cent by 2030 and reduce the importation of oil, which last year, amounted to US$2 billion.

“To achieve this objective we have sought to involve both private and public sector entities in the development of our renewable energy resources. Our strategy is bearing fruit as we see local and overseas companies as well as government corporations investing in renewables,” he said.

Offering the Government’s full endorsement of the Alternative Energy Expo, Mr. Robinson said the two-day event will provide Jamaicans with beneficial information on various alternative energy systems.

The exposition, which is free to the public, features over 60 local and overseas companies showing off the latest and best in emerging energy efficiency products and technologies.