President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Public Service, Emanuel DaRosa, says the company is looking to increase partnership with independent power producers (IPP) in order to meet the country’s renewable energy needs.
He noted that the company has already forged agreements with several entities “who sell electricity to us for distribution to our customers”.
The most recent partnership is with Eight Rivers Energy Company (EREC), with whom the JPS has entered into a 20-year agreement for the purchase of renewable energy.
“We at JPS believe that the future of energy in Jamaica will be fuelled by partnerships, like the one that exists between JPS and the Eight Rivers Energy Company. No single company is expected to supply all of Jamaica’s energy needs,” DaRosa said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of EREC’s Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on Wednesday, October 2.
He noted that the energy that will be produced by the new plant “means that more power from renewable energy will be available for distribution via the national grid”.
DaRosa noted that JPS carried out a number of upgrades to critical substations, as well as to the existing transmission network, in order to ensure the safe and successful connection of the Eight Rivers system to the grid.
The work, he said, included the modification of the Orange Bay Paradise 69KV Transmission line, to accommodate an interconnection facility dedicated to Paradise Park.
“At JPS, we are committed to the continued integration of renewables on the national grid as the country moves towards cleaner fuels and a more sustainable energy framework,” DaRosa explained.
He noted further that construction of the world’s largest hybrid energy storage facility in Kingston is an integral part of a broader strategy to facilitate more renewables on the grid.
“We have already begun the commissioning of the 24-megawatt storage facility, which is helping to smooth out interruptions in power supply that occur when renewables go offline, as a result of cloud cover, for example,” he said.
“As we move forward into a more diversified energy future, JPS stands ready to welcome more partners like EREC, as collectively, we seek to fulfil the national objectives of energy security, affordability and sustainability,” he added.
For her part, Deputy Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Cheryl Lewis, said there is every indication that the EREC solar farm will be beneficial to Jamaica.
“The EREC has established a new bar for renewable projects in Jamaica. The commissioning of this solar farm reinforces confidence in the country’s energy sector, and like the other over US$1-billion electricity projects that are either completed or well under way, it stands as a testimony to what can be achieved when there is good government policy and a regulatory environment that offers assurance and stability,” she said.
Paradise Park, a US$65-million investment, is the largest solar project in Jamaica. It is projected to significantly decrease the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, while helping the island to reach its sustainable development targets. The solar farm is designed to supply 37 megawatts of power.