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JPS erects first turbine for wind power plant

Published:Friday | July 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM
The first of four wind turbines to be installed at the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd's wind power plant in St Elizabeth. The turbine is 50 metres high and the blades are 25 metres in length. - Contributed

THE FIRST of four wind turbines at the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd's (JPS) wind power plant at Munro in St Elizabeth has now been erected.

According to the light and power company, the other three turbines would be erected during this month, while construction continues on the power plant's substation.

The project, at a cost of approximately J$800 million, is intended to add three megawatts of power to the national grid.

Alston Watson, manager of JPS expansion projects, said a South Korean wind turbine manufacturer - UNISON - was contracted to carry out detailed engineering, procurement of equipment, and construction of the wind farm together with local subcontractors. He noted that these wind turbines utilise the most modern wind turbine technology and are cost effective to maintain and designed to withstand category-five hurricanes.

The project has resulted in employment for scores of local workers in road-widening activities, civil and electrical works and construction activities.

Jps's commitment

Valentine Fagan, vice-president of generation expansion at JPS, said: "This is the first JPS-owned wind plant which forms part of the company's commitment to provide the public with a secure and economic energy supply, using a mix of renewable energy resources, such as wind and hydropower. This will be coupled with base load energy solutions, such as new LNG-fuelled combined cycle plants, when LNG (liquified natural gas) becomes available."

The construction of the wind power plant comes as part of the electric utility's fuel diversification effort, which will see a reduction in the company's dependence on imported fuel.

Marubeni TAQA Caribbean owns 80 per cent of the shares in JPS. The Jamaican Government and a small group of minority shareholders own the remaining shares.