Wigton Windfarm Limited in Manchester has been awarded the Jamaica Institution of Engineers' (JIE) engineering 'project of the year award' for its 18-megawatt windfarm expansion project, Wigton phase two.
The project, in which US$47.5 million was invested, involved, among other things, the installation of nine two-megawatt wind turbines, upgrading of an existing 69-kilovolt transmission line and the construction of a new substation, two kilometres of new access roadway, and a resource centre dedicated to renewable energy training and technology transfer.
Wigton phase two is projected to generate 47,304 megawatt hours of electricity annually, consequently reducing Jamaica's oil imports by 27,826 barrels of oil per year. This could translate into foreign exchange savings of US$2,782,600 per year at a rate of US$100 per barrel of oil, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) said in a statement.
In addition, the operation of the 18-MW windfarm will avoid approximately 35,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions which, according to the PCJ, "bodes well for the environment and Jamaica's efforts to address climate change".
A citation to presented to Wigton at an awards banquet hosted by the JIE recently said that from an engineering perspective, Wigton phase two was "planned and executed with notable efficiency, addressing several significant challenges of logistics and engineering design throughout".
Wigton phase two, which was completed on schedule and within budget, was selected over the Port Authority of Jamaica's Falmouth Cruise Ship Terminal and the Urban Development Corporation's Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Commenting on the achievement, general manager of Wigton, Earl Barrett said Wigton was honoured to have received the award and believed it was a testament to the importance of the project to national development and the high standard achieved during its planning and execution.
"Wigton has always strived to be world class in all of its undertakings and sees this award as an additional motivator to continue this drive," he said. "The award is indicative of the smooth work relations achieved, the varied engineering disciplines utilised, the excellent safety record and the internal capacity we have built," Barrett added.
Awarded annually by the JIE, the engineering project of the year award recognises the highest calibre of projects undertaken in Jamaica in the engineering industry. It is seen by many industry professionals to be the most prestigious and coveted engineering award in Jamaica. Recent winners include Caribbean Cement Company's Kiln 5 Project and Tank-Weld Metals' Port Rio Bueno.
Wigton Windfarm Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the PCJ. It currently owns and operates the 38.7-MW wind farm complex in Manchester, which represents 4.5 per cent of generating capacity installed on the national grid, and 2.6 per cent of electricity generation.
The complex consists of the 20.7-MW Wigton phase one, which was awarded the JIE's 'project of the year' award in 2004, and the 18-MW Wigton phase two, which was 100 per cent debt financed through the PetroCaribe Development Fund.
During the period April-August 2011, Wigton generated 46,329,521 kilowatt-hours of electricity, resulting in Jamaica saving an estimated J$229 million on oil importation and avoiding the emission of 38,639 tonnes of carbon dioxide.