Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Jamaica on track in push to LNG, says ESET

Published:Thursday | June 2, 2016 | 6:00 AM

Jamaica has moved much closer to establishing a solid platform for the provision of lower-cost electricity on a more sustainable basis as it moves away from total dependence on oil and aims for diversification of the fuel supply by incorporating renewable and other clean energy options.

Dr Vincent Lawrence, chairman of the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), disclosed on Tuesday that the country is on track to shift from an oil-dominated electricity sector to one where liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the dominant fuel source over the next two to three years.

This follows Cabinet's approval for the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to undertake development of a 190-megawatt gas-fired, baseload generating capacity to supply power to the grid from its Old Harbour, St Catherine plant.

It would thereafter retire the 292-megawatt capacity plant now considered obsolete.

The JPS has since selected New Forrest Energy to supply LNG to the 190-megawatt facility to be built at the Old Harbour power plant, as well as build an LNG terminal adjacent to the old facility.

Lawrence spoke during a press conference at Jamaica House, about some of the other potential spin-off benefits from the switch to natural gas over the medium and long-term.

"JPS was requested to allow for future development of a national LNG supply and storage system, and we did make an announcement previously about the plan to develop the terminal and to use Jamaica as a hub for gas supply in the region," he said.

Since then, Cabinet has approved in principle the development of a local gas market which is projected to drive the use of LNG beyond the generation of electricity.

"The LNG supply and gas terminal project is basically on schedule. A gas supply agreement has been finalised between JPS and the New Fortress Energy group so they have signed the gas supply agreement now. The application for the environmental permit has been submitted to NEPA by New Fortress Energy, engineering on the process has commenced and... the expected completion of the gas terminal is around mid 2018."