Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica has the potential to produce up to 50 per cent of the energy the country needs from renewable sources. But, he warned the island “has to think carefully and strategically as to how it uses the alternatives that God has given us.”
The prime minister made the remarks after touring the BMR Jamaica Wind in St. Elizabeth. He said, “The renewable (energy source) here at BMR is wind. I certainly believe that there is great potential on this side of the island, between Manchester and St. Elizabeth, for there to be an expansion in wind-generating plants,” he told reporters following the tour.
Integrated resource plan
Holness said his administration is currently developing an integrated resource plan that will project the country’s future energy requirements and how those needs can be supplied by using renewables, in particular, wind and solar.
He said that the nation’s solar energy capacity is being expanded and “very soon another solar plant will be open, and we are also looking at waste energy. All of these are environmentally friendly solutions.”
Impressed with BMR
The Prime Minister said he is very impressed with what BMR has been doing, noting that “the posture taken in the development of this plant is one that integrates the community. I was very pleased to see that farmers are allowed to continue farming, with, of course, an appropriate level of respect for the investment that has been made in the plant. It shows you can have this kind of investment and still integrate the community… to have the community act as protectors of the plant as well.”
Price of wind energy going down
Holness also said he was very happy to hear from BMR that the price of wind energy is going down and that its unit price is “amazingly good. “The technology is improving, and the cost of the equipment to generate (wind energy) is going down, making it more accessible,” he said.
BMR chief executive officer, Bruce Levy, said the plant, which has been in operation since July 2016, comprises 11 state-of-the-art wind turbines, each producing 3.3 megawatts of power, for a total of 36 megawatts.
“Our first year of operation was fantastic… right on plan. Getting the equipment here was a pioneering effort, and we want to thank everyone who participated in that,” he said, noting the company also built an 18-kilometre transmission line from the BMR site in Malvern to the neighboring Spur Tree district. “We want to thank all the folks that allowed us to run the transmission line past their property.
“We are operating now with 100 per cent Jamaican employees. We are also proud of the fact that we supply the lowest cost of renewable energy in Jamaica,” he added.
For more on Jamaica’s energy, click the link: Jamaican government looks to diversification