Fayval Williams upbeat as more Jamaicans crave to invest in energy sector

Science, Energy and Technology Minister Fayval Williams (centre), observes as NCB Capital Markets CEO, Steven Gooden (left), greets New Forest Energy’s CFO Chris Guinta, during a bond signing ceremony between the entities at the AC Marriott Hotel, in Kingston.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams says the overwhelming response to the sale of shares in Wigton Windfarm to the public by the Government, clearly demonstrates that Jamaicans have the appetite to invest in the energy sector.

The Wigton Initial Public Offer (IPO), which was oversubscribed by $9 billion, saw approximately 31,000 Jamaicans purchasing shares. Additionally, it resulted in 11,000 new investors joining the stock market.

Wigton Wind Farm in Rose Hill, Manchester (Photo contributed)

“As an administration, we are serious about providing wealth creation avenues for our people,” Minister Williams said.

The minister was among several key speakers at a bond-signing ceremony between NCB Capital Markets Limited and New Fortress Energy (NFE), at the AC Marriott Hotel in Kingston, on Tuesday, August 27.

Against the background of the Wigton IPO response, Williams welcomed plans by NFE to issue a bond to raise US$185 million.

The proceeds will be used to complete the combined heat and power plant being built at Clarendon-based bauxite and alumina refinery, JAMALCO.

The JAMALCO facility in Clarendon (Photo contributed)

The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-powered facility, which is slated for completion in 2020, will supply steam for the refinery’s operations and electricity to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS). 

“I believe that this move [bond issue] is opportune and comes at a time when Jamaicans are bullish about investments. As Energy Minister, I am pleased by the significant investment opportunities being afforded to our people via the energy sector,” Williams continued.

The Energy Minister further noted that NFE has been a good partner in further developing and diversifying Jamaica’s energy sector through the introduction of LNG in 2016 – where it was perceived by some that there was no opportunity.

New Fortress’ US$1 billion LNG-storage facility, FRST, off the coast of St. Elizabeth (Photo: Don Waysome)

She lauded the entity for again “taking a bold move” in presenting the bond issue investment option.

“The Government of Jamaica’s partnerships with New Forest and our many other stakeholders have gone a far way towards ensuring that Jamaica’s energy supply is secure and sufficient to support long-term economic and social development, and environmental sustainability, which is in accordance with Goal No. 4 of our National Energy Policy,” Williams stated.

The extent of these developments, Williams pointed out, include:

  • Conversion of the JPS’ 114-megawatt energy plant in Bogue, St. James, to an LNG-powered facility.
  • Construction of a similarly powered 190mw plant in Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine, the JAMALCO facility, and the South Jamaica Power Company.
  • As well as the commissioning of the floating storage regasification terminal, “which strategically positions Jamaica as a premier LNG hub in the region”.
Construction continues on the 190mw plant in Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine (Photo: New Fortress Energy)

Williams indicated that Jamaica is in line with the demand for and use of LNG, as globally, the trend is increasing.

As the effects of climate change become more evident, governments across the world are working assiduously to reduce harmful emissions, while increasing access to affordable power for their citizens.