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Government's energy efficiency project saves $131.5m

Published:Sunday | March 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley (2nd left), listens to a point from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Kelly Tomblin, at an Energy Policy Workshop staged by the University of the West Indies (UWI) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on March 23. Others (from 2nd left) are UWI Professor Tara Desgupta; and coordinator for the UWI Institute of Sustainable Development, Dr. David Smith.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, says the Government has realised savings of some $131.5 million through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme (EECP).

“This is money that can be diverted to other areas, such as social and infrastructural development,” he said.

He noted that the programme, being undertaken in collaboration with international funding partners, has retrofitted a range of government facilities, including public health, administrative and educational buildings, and facilitated training in best practices for energy efficiency and conservation.

Wheatley was addressing a workshop on the ‘Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Promoting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Buildings in Jamaica Project’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last Thursday.

He noted that the figures for October 2016 show that the EECP intervention has lead to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by some 3,000 tonnes.

He said the ministry is conducting evaluations to further assess the success of the programme.

The EECP, launched in 2012, aims to enhance Jamaica’s energy efficiency and conservation potential through the design and execution of concrete Energy Efficiency (EE) and Energy Conservation (EC) cost-saving measures in the public sector.

It seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry for the implementation of EE and EC and support investments in these measures; and increase awareness and knowledge on EE and EC among key public and private stakeholders.

Other objectives are to reduce energy consumption and costs and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The EECP was scheduled to conclude at the end of 2015, but was extended, with financing by the Government, to facilitate the implementation of the energy-saving strategies in additional entities.

Noting the value of energy to varying facets of society, including production, connectivity, and healthcare, Wheatley said efficiency and conservation are key in achieving the economic growth targets of the Government.

He hailed the University of the West Indies (UWI) for organising the workshop, noting that the outcome of the engagement will no doubt inform policy in countries across the Caribbean.

The Promoting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Buildings in Jamaica Project aims to research and develop practical working solutions that will transform building policies and practices in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and the appropriate regulatory and technical tools.

The workshop discussed the draft of the National Policy and Plan for Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Development and Retrofitting of all Suitable Existing Buildings in Jamaica.