Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell is to write to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to signal his disappointment over its failure to identify preferred bidders for the entire 115 megawatts of renewable energy.
"I'm not happy. I could not believe that we had bids submitted for more than 800MW and the OUR could not find 115MW," Paulwell told The Gleaner yesterday.
This came less than 24 hours after the OUR announced that it had found three preferred bidders for renewable energy totalling 78MW.
'This hard-and-fast and arbitrary rule that the OUR imposed in terms of what is renewable energy and what is baseload ought not to have been so," added Paulwell.
This was an obvious reference to the claim by the OUR that none of the bids submitted in respect of "firm capacity" made it through all the stages of the evaluation process to be accorded preferred-bidder status.
CALL FOR REVISION
"They should not have come away without 115MW of capacity, and I want to urge them to rethink that," declared Paulwell.
According to the energy minister, he was also disappointed that the OUR did not decide on a waste-to-energy project as he was prepared to go to Cabinet to seek permission to increase the amount of renewable energy added to the system to accommodate such a project.
SHOULD NOT LET POTENTIAL INVESTORS WALK
Paulwell argued that receiving submissions from 20 bidders, including from overseas, showed that investors are interested in Jamaica.
"And we should not just allow them to walk away from the table with their investment product, which is so critical for our growth and development," said Paulwell.
The OUR had gone to the market for the 115MW of renewable energy-based power-generation facilities on a build, own and operate basis.
The evaluation of the bids was conducted by a panel comprising two local consultants and an OUR team.
From the proposals for energy only, the evaluation panel has recommended three entities as preferred bidders with capacity amounting to 78MW.
These comprise two projects offering energy from wind amounting to 58MW, and one offering solar amounting to 20MW.
The OUR has indicated that its failure to find a qualified bidder offering firm capacity will mean an early return to the market.
Only one bidder submitted a firm-capacity project and it failed to satisfy the OUR.