Jamaican gov’t eyes ambitious renewable energy target from 18-50%

Energy Minister Favyal Williams (Photo: JIS)

Minister of Energy and Technology Fayval Williams says 18 per cent of Jamaica’s current electricity demand is being met by renewables.

She noted that this is a major step in the country’s overall target of 50 per cent of renewables for electricity-generation by 2037.

The minister was addressing a panel discussion at the fourth Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas ministerial meeting held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James last Thursday (Feb. 27).

“Over the years you have seen us (Jamaica) move towards having more natural gas in our mix and more renewables as well,” Williams said.

Just over a decade ago, petroleum accounted for 95 per cent of electricity supplied, while wind and hydro accounted for 2.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively.

The minister said with the country incorporating more eco-friendly sources of energy – wind, hydro and solar – the Government anticipates a “smooth transition” away from non-renewable fuels.

Williams outlined that the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has been instrumental in the changeover process, and has guided Jamaica to develop a modern energy sector.

“The IRP allows us to take a 20-year look into the electricity-generation sector as it relates to the retirement of existing inefficient plans, the taking on of new capacity… and looking at our projection for demand over that period as well,” she explained.

“Investors have greater visibility into the sector. They know between now and the next five years exactly what it is that we would be looking to procure. There is a defined procurement process,” the minister added.

In the meantime, Williams urged international bodies to continue partnering with Jamaica to modernise the energy sector, adding that there is a lot more work to be done in enabling the sector to achieve its energy objectives.

“I know the Inter-American Development Bank has done quite a bit already in terms of looking at the e-mobility and what that means for additional demands for the electricity sector. [So] we would love for international partners to probably take a look at our process, write up about us to say how well we are doing and help us in our assessments,” the minister said.

Approximately 35 energy ministers participated at the meeting. Also taking part were more than 300 investors, regulators, car dealers and manufacturers, power-generating companies and others.

The meeting, which concluded on Friday, was held under the theme ‘Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities’.