Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Spanish company Gamesa to build Wigton III wind farm

Published:Wednesday | January 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Wigton Windfarm Limited has struck a deal with Spanish company Gamesa to expand its wind farm, starting in April, at a cost of US$40 million (J$4.6 billion).

The project will add another 24MW of wind capacity at the company's wind farm complex at Rose Hill, Manchester. The Wigton III capacity is to be commissioned in February 2016, growing the wind farm's total capacity to 62.7MW.

Wigton parent, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), said Monday that the projected output for Wigton III alone is 63,072MWh annually, and that the project is expected to reduce national oil consumption by over 37,100 barrels per year.

This should generate annual savings of approximately $214 million at US$50 a barrel for oil, the energy agency said. The projection is some $200 million less than at the time of project disclosure in 2014, when oil prices were above US$90 per barrel.

The Wigton III project cost is also valued some US$6 million ($690 million) less than earlier projected, PCJ said. The new farm is slated for a site approximately one kilometre east of the existing Wigton complex.

Under the agreement that was signed in Madrid, Spain, Gamesa will execute a turnkey construction project which will involve the installation of 12 of its G80-2.0MW wind turbines.

The PCJ said that Gamesa has installed over 30,000MW in 47 countries in the last two decades, establishing itself as "world technology leader in the wind power industry".

Gamesa has developed wind farms in Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, it indicated.

Wigton III had to compete with other companies for a licence under Jamaica's 115MW Renewable Energy Project, through which the Jamaican Government is targeting, as outlined in the National Energy Policy, renewable energy penetration to 20 per cent of the energy mix with a longer-term goal of 30 per cent.

The total installation investment cost for Wigton I, developed in 2004, and Wigton II, which was commissioned in 2010, was a combined US$74.2 million. The company said last September that it had earned US$69.7 million from wind-generated electricity sales to JPS between April 2004 and August 2014.

Wigton's current 38.7MW capacity farm is the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean.

PCJ said in a release that in Wigton Windfarm's 10 years of operation, the company has saved the country close to $3 billion by reducing oil consumption by close to 406,000 barrels.

The Wigton III capacity will be sufficient to power more than 31,500 homes and increase renewable energy input to the national grid by more than two per cent, PCJ said.

The project is expected to create 125 jobs during its construction phase and then three permanent positions for engineers after commissioning.

Wigton will be financed through the PetroCaribe Development Fund and from Wigton's internal resources, PCJ said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com