Smooth sailing for more renewables - OUR
The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is reporting strong interest from potential investors to its latest effort to find qualified bidders to deliver 37 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the national grid.
"It is going very smoothly, the bids are due in January and we have more than 20 entities expressing interest to bid," Albert Gordon, director general of the OUR, announced last week as he gave an update on the process which started at the end of July.
Bidders have been given the option of submitting proposals for the supply of one or more plants of varying configurations greater than 100 kilowatts and up to 37 MW of renewable energy electricity generation.
"This will be another step in reducing our dependence on imported fuel, and also maintaining cheap electricity cost should oil prices go back up," said Gordon.
He argued that even with the 37MW of renewable energy added to the grid this will not go as far as intended to meet the targeted level of renewable energy used in Jamaica.
"So by 2020 we would need another 50MW, which means that shortly after getting supplies for this 37 we will need to launch another request for proposals," said Gordon, as he noted that there has been no request for an extension of the deadline for applications.
Bidders have up until January 27, 2016 to submit their proposals, along with a US$8,000 ($940,000) non-refundable application fee with the new facilities expected to be operational by 2019.
The OUR had initially gone to the market in 2012 for 115MW of renewable capacity but settled on 78MW as bidders opted for projects which delivered energy intermittently, such as solar and wind, and not firm capacity projects such as waste-to-energy.
Two of the proposals received then were wind projects and 25 were for solar energy.
In the end, Wigton and BMR Jamaica were chosen to build a combined 58MW of wind capacity and Content Solar Jamaica Limited was picked to develop a 20MW photovoltaic solar farm in Clarendon.