October 14, 2018

Jamaica PM Upbeat About NWC's Renewable Energy Thrust

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is upbeat over consideration by the National Water Commission (NWC) to install solar panels to power operations at the Mona Reservoir in St Andrew, in a move to reduce energy cost.

“One project which is under contemplation is putting solar panels over the Mona Dam. If you manage to achieve that I think that would be quite significant,” Holness said.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 27th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in St James Monday.

The event, which ran until Thursday, was held under the theme: “Climate Resilience, Innovation and Partnership for Sustainable Water and Waste Development”.

Prime Minister Holness noted that the Mona facility is one of 20 which the utility company and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica are now working in tandem to introduce renewable energies.

“The NWC is coordinating with another agency which is in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, in figuring ways to introduce renewable energies in 20 of your production location that will significantly reduce the electricity use,” he disclosed.

The prime minister said that if the solar energy project is successfully implemented at the Mona Reservoir, it could possibly be able to not only produce energy to power the operations there, but could also have a surplus to supply to the national grid.

“And your generating capacity would be more than enough to supply your needs for that production site and you should be able to actually sell to the grid,” he said.

Two years ago, Dr Horace Chang, who had responsibility then for water in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, disclosed that the NWC's biggest expense is its electricity bill, which averaged around $450 million monthly.

Speaking at the 14th Annual Conference of the Organisation of Utility Regulators, held at Secrets Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St James, in October 2016, Dr Chang expressed that if given the green light, NWC could generate even more power than the Jamaica Public Service.

“If we have hydropower, we can produce so much; we have lands we can produce solar power and not only remove ourselves from the grid in terms of supply sources,” Dr Chang said at the time.

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