Sat | Jun 25, 2022

Letter of the Day | Jamaica’s renewables plan is on track

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2022 | 12:12 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) is mindful of comments expressed in the editorial titled ‘Get a move on renewables plan’, published in The Gleaner on June 19, 2022.

The ministry, therefore, deems it fit to respond to the concerns raised, through the provision of an update on actions taken to advance Jamaica’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and the Request for Proposals (RFP).

FIRST, IRP

The ministry wishes to place on record that the claim related to a lack of urgency concerning the IRP development and promulgation, as well as the presumption that Jamaica’s investment decisions on renewables or generation capacity are being made within a vacuum, is unfounded and inaccurate.

It must be noted that the first iteration of the IRP was completed and approved by Cabinet in February 2020, and since then, has been available for viewing on the ministry’s website.

The plan outlined the following demand forecast per customer base, pre-COVID:

• In the most likely case, an electricity demand at a compound annual growth rate of 1.43 per cent is expected up to 2035;

• Under a high growth case, an electricity demand at a compound annual growth rate of 1.59 per cent is expected up to 2035;

• Under low growth case, an electricity demand at compound annual growth rate of 1.25 per cent is expected up to 2035; and

• Peak demand is forecast to grow from 640MW in 2015 to 848MW in 2035.

SECOND, IRP

The ministry is now engaged in the process of developing the second iteration of the IRP, which is slated for completion by the end of 2022.

This IRP, similarly to the first, is being prepared with considerable public involvement from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR); Jamaica Public Service (JPS); numerous government agencies; the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other stakeholders. The plan will cover the period 2021 to 2040, building on the previous IRP, with a keen focus on decarbonisation, resilience and further reduction in electricity prices.

The key elements of the second IRP include:

• Identification of resource needs, focusing on a 20-year planning period 2021-2040;

• The preferred portfolio of generation and the electric grid infrastructure to meet this need;

• The prioritisation of indigenous resources (solar, wind, etc.) and grid modernisation for resilience;

• Focus on minimising the tariff impact on customers; and

• The integration of electric vehicles as a key factor in the energy transition.

These outcomes are critical as the country moves towards increasing renewable energy penetration to 50 per cent by 2030 as mandated by the prime minister.

Request for Proposal (RFP) and the Generation Procurement Entity (GPE)

As it pertains to the issuing of RFPs to support electricity generation capacity to include renewables, the Generation Procurement Entity has created strategic partnerships with the World Bank and the International Development Bank (IDB). This is in an effort to develop rules and guidelines; increase technical and institutional capacities; and improve evaluative, procurement, and generational capabilities.

To this end, it is anticipated that an RFP will be promulgated in the second quarter of 2022.

Members of the public who are still unclear or require further information are encouraged to contact the ministry at 876-929-8990-9 or via email at cr@mset.gov.jm

MINISTRY OF SCIENCE,

ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY

(MSET)