PM says Gov’t fully committed to investing in cleaner energy sources

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) listens to Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Paradise Park Solar Farm in Westmoreland, Romain Desrousseaux, during a tour on October 2. At left is Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams. (Photo: Michael Sloley, JIS)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is fully committed to investing in cleaner energy sources as a way of protecting the environment while making the economy more competitive.

Holness, who was giving the keynote address at the inauguration of Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on October 2, said it is against this background that his administration continues to encourage investments in renewables and why he remains convinced that they are now an integral part of the country’s economic future.

“This is a signal to investors, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), the Jamaica Public Service, the financial markets and the citizens of the country, that your Government is doing everything it can to ensure that we are protecting our own environment by using cleaner energy,” he said.

Holness cited the environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy, which include diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels as well as creating economic development and jobs in a wide variety of areas.

“The Jamaica National Energy Policy 2009-2030 requires that Jamaica realises its energy resource potential through the development of renewable energy sources and enhances its international competitiveness in energy security, whilst reducing its carbon footprint,” Holness pointed out.

“The proposed target of 20 percent in the renewable energy mix by 2030, in my opinion, was not ambitious enough, so I raised the target. I raised it as more of a challenge to the players in the sector and that we should be at least 30 percent by 2030… and even that I think is putting my hat where I know we can reach,” he added.

Holness said that it was within that context that he raised the challenge even further, noting that it is well within the realm of possibilities that the country could get to 50 percent of renewables, 30 percent above the original projection, by 2030.

He noted that currently, the total amount of electricity generated from solar is up to six percent of the installed electricity-generation capacity islandwide and that there is much room for improvement in that regard.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (third left), listens keenly to President of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company, Emanuel DaRosa (second left), during a tour of Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on October 2. Also on the tour (from left) are Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Bertel Moore; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams; Deputy Director-General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Cheryl Lewis; and Custos of Westmoreland, Reverend Canon Hartley Perrin. (Photo: Michael Sloley, JIS)

“Six percent of solar is really small and we will improve on that. However, when this is added to other sources of renewable energy, Jamaica is now generating 17 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, which would be wind, solar and hydro,” PM Holness indicated.

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.