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Reducing energy cost and energising education - New Fortress Energy and UWI ink cash-saving deal

Published:Friday | July 14, 2017 | 12:00 AMDelion Bowes

Starting September, the University of the West Indies should see a reduction in its electricity bills through the introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) under a deal it has inked with New Fortress Energy.

The deal will see the Mona campus of the university upgrading its combined heat and power (CHP) plant to reduce its energy costs by some $52 million annually.

This will also improve the university's environmental footprint with a 16 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

According to founder and chairman of New Fortress Energy, Wes Edens, the changes will be visible as soon as this September, and will enable the campus to become energy independent in the coming year.

"It will further allow clean and renewable energy to accelerate economic opportunity and environmental stewardship," said Edens, as he argued that this will be crucial for the university's development in education.

The deal with New Fortress Energy to supply LNG is a prelude to the expansion of the capacity of the Mona campus' cogeneration plant, which will facilitate an additional $312 million annually in savings.

Cogeneration or CHP produces electricity as well as thermal energy, which will be used to cool the buildings on the campus.

Under the terms of the fuel supply agreement, New Fortress Energy will upgrade and expand the existing cooling infrastructure, currently at some of the sites being served by Mona's cooling facilities.

This will immediately lower fuel costs while enabling the university to cool an additional number of buildings and lecture rooms.


World-class education


"(The) UWI plays a critical role in Jamaica and the Caribbean by providing world-class education for the next generation of professionals and our efforts will go a long way in achieving and advancing the university's goals.

"We are especially proud to begin investing in the education and training of Jamaica's new energy workforce. This partnership will continue to grow as Jamaica becomes the energy innovation hub and model for the rest of the Caribbean," added Edens, as he added that his company would be giving grants and scholarships to UWI students.

This is expected to facilitate an increase in training for 100 power engineering students as well as increasing the graduate engineers to more than 1,000 per year.

In the meantime, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Mona campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, said that this will be of benefit to its expansion model.

"Developing and maintaining a 'world-class university' requires the seamless conjoining of many factors. In a consistently evolving world, our university is keeping up with the pace, not allowing our region to be left behind, and ensuring that we are fully equipped with the tools and ammunition to effectively shape and support the future," said McDonald.

"Collaborations such as the one with New Fortress Energy will enable the UWI, Mona, to upgrade its infrastructure and expand its operations, while increasing revenues through strategic public-private partnerships," added McDonald.