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JPS recommissions hydro plant

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) has put back its first hydro plant back into service, spending US$1 million to add 0.77 megawatt of capacity to the grid.

JPS said the Constant Spring Hydroelectric Power Plant that was recommissioned in December marks the first renewable joint venture project undertaken between equal partners Marubeni Caribbean and Taqa.

Each own 40 per cent of JPS, with the Jamaican Government holding the other 20 per cent.

The new capacity can service up to 1,600 homes, the electricity provider said.

Sitting idle since 2001, the facility located at the National Water Commission's (NWC) treatment plant at Long Lane in St Andrew will be operated under joint agreement between JPS and NWC.

The plant is powered by the waters of the Hermitage Dam, as well as the Wag Water and Boar Rivers; diverted through turbines before being returned to the NWC treatment area and is expected to result in fuel cost savings of approximately US$600,000 per year, based on current prices, JPS said.

The power company's fuel bill in 2008 hit US$655.82 million in a year of record high oil prices, representing more than two-thirds of revenue of $988.2 million.

Under the operational partnership between the two utilities - both monopolies - NWC employees have been trained by JPS on the workings of the fully automated plant.

The plant can accommodate volumes of up to 15 million gallons of water per day, and can remotely control the flow of water.

JPS also plans to expanding the Maggotty Hydroelectric Power Plant in St Elizabeth as the next renewable project, and has plans to build more hydroelectric plants at Mahogany Vale in St Thomas and at Rio Grande in Portland.