Sun | Dec 10, 2023

New US$1B LNG terminal pushes Jamaica nearer to 50% renewable energy target

Published:Sunday | July 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM
The new floating LNG terminal off the coast of Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the newly commissioned Floating Storage and Regasification Terminal has placed Jamaica firmly on track of reaching its target of generating 50 per cent of the island's electricity from renewable energy sources.

Holness, who was speaking at a ceremony on Friday to officially unveil the terminal at its location just off the coast of Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine, said Jamaica is now “on track to achieve an ambitious goal which is to have at least 50 per cent of our electricity generation from renewables or cleaner fuels”.

The prime minister said the new LNG terminal, built at a cost of nearly US$1 billion by the United States-based New Fortress Energy, will result in cheaper energy costs for the country, as well as establishes Jamaica as a premier hub for the environmentally-friendly fuel source.

“We are demonstrating that we can put in place the necessary investments, build infrastructure that both reduces the cost to the consumer, but most importantly, reduces the cost to the environment, and I think this is a good example of that. It’s a win-win for all,” he said.

He noted that this is in line with Jamaica’s energy policy, which calls for the development of its energy resource potential to enhance international competitiveness and energy security, whilst reducing carbon footprint.

“What I like about it is that it is more environmentally friendly, as it burns significantly cleaner than other oil-based fuels.Over the past decade, LNG has been approximately 30 per cent cheaper than diesel and projections are that it will continue to be cheaper than the distillate fuels.”

Operated by global energy infrastructure company, New Fortress Energy, the terminal, which is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, will provide environmentally friendly, lower-cost fuel to several facilities, including the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) soon-to-be-completed 190 mega-watt power plant in Old Harbour, through natural gas pipelines.

New Fortress Energy is supplying LNG to the University of the West Indies (UWI) and other places.

Holness pointed out that there are also plans to supply the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) with the cleaner fuel, noting that in “the near future our buses could be using LNG.” This is to be realised under a pilot project with the JUTC to power five of its buses with natural gas.

And Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams, said  since its introduction, significant strides have been made with natural gas.

Meanwhile, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of New Fortress Energy, Wes Edens, said he is pleased that when the company came to Jamaica four and a half years ago, he found a country that “had the political will for the change that is necessary to switch from distillate fuels to a cleaner, brighter and more environmentally friendly future.”

“Jamaica is now a model for the rest of the Caribbean…this is another way station on the journey that for us begins in Jamaica and is spreading around the Caribbean and the rest of the world,” he said.

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