Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Ja should have more renewable energy sources – PM

Published:Thursday | October 3, 2019 | 12:32 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) participates in a plaque-unveiling ceremony at the Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, during an official inauguration ceremony for the facility on Wednesday. Also pictured, from second left: Cheryl Lewis, deputy director general of the Office of Utilities Regulation; Angella Rainford, director of Eight Rivers Energy Company Limited, which operates the facility; and Energy Minister Fayval Williams.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) participates in a plaque-unveiling ceremony at the Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, during an official inauguration ceremony for the facility on Wednesday. Also pictured, from second left: Cheryl Lewis, deputy director general of the Office of Utilities Regulation; Angella Rainford, director of Eight Rivers Energy Company Limited, which operates the facility; and Energy Minister Fayval Williams.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness believes that Jamaica can potentially host more renewable-energy sources to add up to 50 per cent of electricity to the national grid by 2030, which would also give the country more options for cleaner energy.

Holness expressed that view while addressing yesterday’s opening ceremony for the Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.

The solar farm, which is Jamaica’s first solar-power facility and which was built at a cost of US$65 million (J$8.6 billion), has 156,000 solar panels and is capable of supplying 37 megawatts of power to the national grid. It was constructed through partnerships with various groups to include French renewable energy company NeoEn and the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Lead by example

“Jamaica should lead by example and have far more renewables and generate far less carbon to the atmosphere. The challenge is that we have to find an economic way to do it because we want our consumers to have access to cheaper energy, but we also want them to have access to cleaner energy,” Holness said in his address.

According to Holness, Jamaica is currently generating 17 per cent of its electricity through renewable energy when the Jamaica National Energy Policy 2009-2030 proposes a target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“Jamaica is now generating 17 per cent of its electricity from wind, solar, and hydro. The proposed target of 20 per cent of renewables in the energy mix by 2030, in my opinion, was not ambitious enough, so I’ve raised the target. We should be at least 30 per cent of renewable energy by 2030, and to give a greater challenge, I’ve said ‘let’s work for 50 per cent’,” said Holness.

“There can be more renewable projects brought to market in Jamaica, and you’ve demonstrated that the technology is there, so that shouldn’t be a constraint. We just need to hear from the Jamaica Public Service that we can take on more renewables, and we need to hear from the Office of Utilities Regulation that the price is right,” Holness added.

The prime minister’s declaration comes at a time when calls are being made for more renewable energy and water-adaptation measures to be adopted in order to combat the issues of climate change.

The project is majority-owned by Neoen alongside Rekamniar Frontier Ventures and MPC Caribbean Clean Energy Fund.