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JPS energy storage project under way - Minister breaks ground for 24.5MW facility in Hunts Bay

Published:Friday | March 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
From left are Seiji Kawamura chairman of the board JPS, Steven looney, vice-president and general manager, micro grids and distributed generation for North America ABB, Andrew Wheatley, minister of science energy and technology, Emanuel DaRosa, president and CEO, JPS, and Ansord Hewitt, director general, OUR, break ground for the JPS 24.5MW energy-storage facility on Marcus Garvey Drive Kingston yesterday.
Ashe Performing Arts Company gave a cultural performance at the ground breaking for the JPS 24.5MW energy-storage facility on Marcus Garvey Drive Kingston yesterday.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley says that the ongoing expansion and diversification of Jamaica's energy mix is happening at warp speed but stated that any notion that Jamaica was only substituting one energy source for another was incorrect.

"I want to use this opportunity to inform Jamaica, and, by extension, our investors, that even though we have incorporated more LNG into our energy mix matrix, we are not about to transfer our dependency from one fuel source to LNG," said Wheatley.

"I want it known that it is Jamaica first and foremost. And it would be foolhardy of us to move from dependency on one fuel source to another. Instead, we are committed to diversification, and as such, you will see policies coming out of the ministry along this line," he said.

He made the comments at the groundbreaking exercise for the construction of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) 24.5 megawatt energy-storage facility at its Hunts Bay plant, yesterday.

The project is to be undertaken by Micro Grids and Distributed General for North America, ABB, and is scheduled for completion by April 2019. The project is to cost US$21.6 million.

Wheatley also noted that the value of the investment would redound to the overall benefit of consumers and would further fuel the growth targets that the Government desires.

The JPS will provide the energy storage system characteristics that will address the existing and near future challenges to the ministry for utilisation in the national Integrated Resource Plan.


Reliability issues


The grid has been experiencing significant reliability issues associated with intermittent renewable ramping and system trips.

"Simply put, renewables are intermittent by nature. A sunny day can be become overcast, winds can die down, etc," stated Wheatley. "When this happens, there is sudden loss of power supply. This, in turn, leads to power outages, which is why it is important we have this storage facility to smooth over the breaks."

That will all change when the storage facility is completed on time and within budget, said Emanuel DaRosa, JPS president and chief executive officer.

Steve Looney, vice-president and general manager ABB, gave the assurance that the project would be completed on time and that it would be the largest of its kind in the world and would place Jamaica ahead of other already established renewable energy-ready countries. "It will not be one of. It will be the largest hybrid project in the world," he said.