JPS is reporting that the 190 Megawatt (MW) Natural Gas power plant which is presently under construction, is now over 90% complete. The plant will be commissioned into service by the 3rd quarter of this year. Once the new power plant is commissioned, the older Old Harbour Bay Plant will be decommissioned in phases, until is taken completely offline by the 1st quarter of 2020.
The new power plant, will use Natural Gas as its primary fuel, with Automotive Diesel Oil as back-up. The benefits expected to accrue from this addition to the energy sector are improved energy diversity, with the expected dependence on oil dropping from above 60% to about 36%; stability in the pricing of electricity, helping to smooth out the spikes in oil prices; and cleaner energy with no sulphur emissions.
The Old Harbour Bay community has also benefitted from the project, as over 200 persons from that community have gained employment, as part of the nearly 600 persons who have been employed to carry out the construction project. Seventy per cent of all workers on the plant are Jamaican.
President and CEO of JPS, Emanuel DaRosa, notes that this development will be a game-changer for the generation of electricity. “This will mean that roughly one third of our power generation will be coming from a brand new facility. This translates to greater efficiency and will also help to keep prices stable.”
The project, which is being operated by the South Jamaica Power Company, a subsidiary of JPS, is the collaborative effort of several local financiers who have backed the US$330M or over J$41Billion investment – one of the most significant capital investments in the country in decades.
Several stakeholders have been keeping abreast of the developments at the construction site, including representatives from the Ministry of Energy’s Generation Procurement Entity (GPE); the PetroCaribe Development Fund, and the Office of Utilities Regulation. Speaking recently at a tour of the plant, Head of the GPE, Professor Alvin Wint, noted that the development is an impressive one, and that it boded well for the local economy and our progress as a nation.
CEO of the PetroCaribe Development Fund, Dr. Wesley Hughes, while on a recent tour of the project noted that it was a tremendous move. “As you know, energy is central to development, which is one of the reasons why PetroCaribe as a development fund invested in this plant. From the get-go we were committed to investing and we’re 10% owners of this operation.” Dr Hughes also indicated that he looks forward to an increase in the use of renewables in the sector.
PSOJ President, Howard Mitchell, who also led a delegation of some private sector leaders on a tour of the plant, noted that, “What we see here is a good combination of government, private sector, and foreign affairs diplomacy working. And it’s a manifestation of natural gas provision as fuel in the Caribbean… And that’s wonderful… I am really impressed. The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica is fully behind all of the stakeholders in this – New Fortress, JPS, and the Government of Jamaica for their efforts in bringing this to fruition. Truly a great time.”