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Tomblin urges caution on renewables

Published:Tuesday | June 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Kelly Tomblin, Jamaica Public Service chief executive officer/president, checks out the programme with JPS's Chief Financial Officer Dan Theoc during ATL/Panasonic Energy Forum held last week Wednesday in St Andrew. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer

Chrsitopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) is urging caution as the country moves to embrace renewable sources of energy, in the effort to reduce the country's whopping importation of petroleum pro-ducts which last year exceeded J$2 billion.

"We will never say that solar doesn't have a place. What we do say is if you are doing solar on a large scale basis commercially, industrially, grid solar, that we just need to have a plan," she told The Gleaner at the end of an energy forum hosted by ATL at its Oxford Road location last Wednesday.

After listening to energy minister Phillip Paulwell and Danville Walker, managing director of the ATL Group of Companies, among others, advocate for greater investment into renewable energy options, especially solar, Tomblin was insistent that any such plans must be subject to careful considerations.

learn from mistakes

"We don't want to end up like Germany where you set up renewables and then you have to back them off. Look at Hawaii, (so) we just have to learn from other people's mistakes. We have to be careful, I think we are at the right place at the right time, to say, 'Let's take a step back, let's get our plan together and before we take our next step make sure it's a step that leads to where we want to go,'" she said in response to questions from The Gleaner.

"Seriously, we would never say that renewables are not part of the mix. They are, it's just up to us to decide how much, where and how do they play the role that they need to play. Typically, the first step before you bring on renewables or base load or anything, you do an integrated resource plan, a grid impact study and ask, 'What happens if we put X over here? What happens in we put Y over here?' Just simple energy mapping, it's not really that complicated," she said.