More wind power: Wigton Phase Two opens
PHASE TWO of the Wigton Wind Farm in south Manchester is now up and running with an additional 14 mega watts (MW) of renewable energy now available.
After spending close to US$50 million to install nine Vestas V80 wind turbines, the wind farm is now able to offer a total of 34.7MW of renewable energy to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS). That will not translate, however, into cheaper bills for JPS customers.
"The 34.7MW is still very small on the scale of what JPS generates, so right now you will not see any decrease in your electricity bill," Rohan Haye, operations manager at the Wigton Wind Farm, told The Sunday Gleaner recently.
"We have to really increase the capacity for you to see any appreciable difference," Haye added in reference to the approximately 500 MW generated by the JPS.
room for improvement
According to Haye, Wigton Phase Two improves on the technology used in Phase One with more features.
"There is still room for even more improvements, and we have already started to look at the possibility of a Wigton Phase Three," Haye said.
The Government has projected that by next year, 11 per cent of the country's electricity will be generated by renewable energy.
The Wigton Wind Farm Limited, a subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), was commissioned in 2004 and saves the country millions of dollars each year by reducing the amount of oil imported. It has also resulted in reduced carbon emissions.
"A cornerstone of this policy is diversifying our energy base. We will find new ways to power our economy and to reduce the amount of energy we use," Energy Minister James Robertson declared last year at the launch of the expansion programme.
"This policy will also enable us to reduce pollution and thereby protect the health of all Jamaicans as they go about their daily business. It will demonstrate that Jamaica is a responsible global citizen as we minimise our emissions of greenhouse gases, and reduce our carbon footprint," Robertson added.
The power produced by the wind farm is sold into the national grid under a 20-year power-purchase contract with the JPS.
The expansion is expected to allow the wind farm to sell the JPS enough energy to power about 24,000 homes.