Mon | Aug 10, 2020

Jamaica to tender 500MW of renewable energy projects

Published:Friday | July 31, 2020 | 12:17 AM

Minister of Energy Fayval Williams.
Minister of Energy Fayval Williams.

Jamaica wants to develop over 500 megawatts of new energy projects generated mostly but not exclusively from nature, with plans to get investors to bid on a portion of that capacity, starting early next year.

“It is envisioned that competition will bring the price of electricity down, while bringing the best technologies into the energy sector,” said Minister of Science, Energy & Technology Fayval Williams in a webinar discussion on ‘Renewable Energy Infrastructure Investment Opportunities’ on Thursday.

It was convened by Jampro, the investment promotion arm of the Government.

Jamaica intends to generate half of its energy from renewables by 2037, amid an overall target to add 1.6 gigawatts of new capacity to the electricity grid, Williams said.

Investors are already anticipating the GOJ’s invitation to bid for the projects, she said to the 400 participants who signed on to the webinar.

The last time Jamaica issued requests for proposals, RFPs, from renewable energy investors was in 2015 – for 37MW.

Cabinet recently approved additional capacity for the grid over the first five years of a 20-year plan – split 320MW of wind and solar power; 120MW of liquefied natural gas; and 74MW of hydro, waste-to-energy or biomass.

The technical parameters within the proposal are being developed, with an expectation of publication within six to nine months.

“The first quarter of 2021, that would be my expectation,” Williams said.

This latest project will also complete an RFP process started in 2012 to identify investors for 115MW of capacity. At the time, only 78MW was assigned to three successful bidders.

Most of the Jamaica’s energy is generated from liquefied natural gas and oil.

Total installed capacity as at January stood at 930MW. Peak demand normally hovers at 660MW, according to grid manager Jamaica Public Service Company.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com