THE EDITOR, Sir:
As Jamaica continues to grapple with the high cost of energy, and as the Government continues to pursue cheaper sources of energy while still relying on fossil fuels, if Jamaica is truly serious about significantly reducing our energy cost at the domestic and commercial levels, we ought to seek to employing the use of renewable-energy sources.
I envision that any significant reduction in electricity cost will require a balance in usage between energy generated by fossil fuel and renewable sources, respectively.
How can this be achieved? Through government policy, we could incentivise the thrust towards reducing the cost of energy by mandating that all new real-estate developments be constructed to accommodate a source of renewable energy, capable of supplying at least one-third of the development's energy need.
The National Housing Trust, the largest supplier of homes to the market, could be used as the initial point of such a strategy, with existing homeowners being encouraged to implement a source of renewable energy for their domestic purposes. Commercially, businesses could also fall in line with the thrust to implement a source of renewable energy for productive use.
One challenge to this policy move would be the present International Monetary Fund agreement and its impact on the mode of incentives that the Government could pursue within the existing framework.
However, given the importance of energy and its sustainability to Jamaica's growth and development, I foresee that such a move could have a spin-off effect on the economy. Not only would we likely be realising reduced energy cost in the medium to long term, but the new push towards renewables would offer much impetus to the market, increased disposable income for the domestic user, reduction in amount of the line item relating to energy from a company's income and expenditure statement, increased renewables sales, and likely revenue to the government coffers.
FABIAN E. SANCHEZ