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JPS moves closer to cheaper electricity

Published:Saturday | August 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has signed an agreement for the long-awaited supply of gas to the island.

The company has announced that it has signed a deal with the United States (US)-based New Fortress Energy for the supply of gas to Jamaica, after receiving approvals from the Government and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

Under the agreement, New Fortress Energy will provide the JPS with liquefied natural gas (LNG) for its 120-megawatt power plant in Bogue, St James.

The plant, which was first commissioned into service in 2003, is being converted to run on gas instead of the more expensive automotive diesel oil.

"This is a historic moment for JPS and for Jamaica," said Kelly Tomblin, president and CEO of the JPS.

"JPS has worked since 2012 to procure gas as part our fuel diversification strategy. We are fortunate that we can now take advantage of technology related to gas shipments and supportive US policies that allow the export of gas to non-FTA countries.

"Just today (Friday), Fortress received its permit from the US Government to export gas to Jamaica. JPS is honoured to be leading this game-changer for the energy sector," said Tomblin.


Support national goals


The JPS CEO said the introduction of gas will support the national goals of energy security, sustainability and affordability.

"The move to cleaner fuels and more flexible generation will reduce our environmental footprint by allowing Jamaica to optimise our use of renewables while we simultaneously reduce emissions from our baseload generation," said Tomblin.

According to Tomblin, the JPS has been working closely with the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team, which was set up by the Government to oversee the upgrade and expansion of Jamaica's energy sector.

The signing of the gas supply agreement has set the stage for work to begin on the infrastructure needed for the delivery of gas to Bogue by early 2016.

Wes Edens, founder and co-chairman of the board of Fortress Investment Group, declared New Fortress Energy's commitment to investing and creating value in Jamaica.

"This agreement opens the door to a new era of energy diversity and independence for Jamaica and its citizens, enabling the region to benefit from cost-effective, stable supplies of US natural gas.

"Our vision extends far beyond Bogue. This will be the catalyst to establish Jamaica as an energy hub for the Caribbean and Latin America. Jamaica is the ideal location to execute on this vision, and we intend to invest significantly in energy, port and logistics infrastructure on the island. Change takes vision and we applaud JPS, its leadership, and the Government of Jamaica for working tirelessly towards this moment."