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New Fortress to build, operate US$265m gas-fired power plant for Jamalco

Published:Monday | July 31, 2017 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
The Jamalco plant in Clarendon is to be fuelled by a new gas-fired facility to be developed by New Fortress Energy for US$265 million.
The Jamalco plant in Clarendon is to be fuelled by a new gas-fired facility to be developed by New Fortress Energy for US$265 million.

New Fortress Energy will hire 425 persons during the construction stage of the planned US$265-million natural gas facility to be developed in Clarendon.

Residents welcome the jobs but are concerned about air pollution, according to the newly released environmental impact assessment report, the EIA, produced by Conrad Douglas & Associates Limited on behalf of the American energy company.

The facility, described as a cogeneration plant, will run on natural gas with diesel as a backup. The plant will provide cheaper fuel for bauxite company Jamalco.

Most of the jobs, or 325, are slated for the main construction site; 50 for switchyard and substation; and 50 for the pipeline installation. Additionally, it is expected that 20 permanent positions will result from the operations of the plant.

New Fortress plans to construct and operate the 200 MW combined heat and power cogeneration power station on brownfield space at Jamalco's alumina refinery complex in Halse Hall, Clarendon. The plant is to be developed in two phases of 100MW each.

"The residents expect mostly positive impacts from the proposed development, although they expressed concerns about levels of air, noise and dust pollution," stated the EIA, which noted that 79 per cent see the project bringing more jobs and being "of monumental significance" for their community and Jamaica.

The EIA indicated that during the construction phases, the developers of the plant would take steps to reduce the dust impact. Roughly 44 per cent of the 381 residents surveyed believe that dust pollution will result from the project, while 28 per cent were concerned about noise pollution.

Natural gas will be the primary fuel for the facility with low-sulphur automotive diesel oil as a backup fuel. It is expected that the facility would use diesel in six per cent of its operating hours per year.

The report noted that the capital cost of the investment, at US$265 million, will offer New Fortress a return on investment at under eight per cent.

The major components of the project include a floating storage and re-gasification terminal, or FSRT, in the Portland Bight Protected Area; the installation of a pipeline from the Rocky Point Port to Jamalco Refinery; the construction of the natural gas-fired power station; and the construction of an electricity distribution network to deliver power to the national grid.

New Fortress will also supply a 190MW gas-fired power plant in Old Harbour, St Catherine, being developed by Jamaica Public Service Company from its marine terminal at Portland Bight.