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JM | Jun 23, 2022

Jamaica shortly to announce RFP for renewable energy

/ Our Today

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Partnering with multilateral lenders to develop procurement rules and guidelines

Daryl Vaz, minister of Science, Energy and Technology.

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Jamaica is set to unveil, within weeks, a request for proposals to procure power generation including renewables.

This announcement was made by Jamaica’s Energy Ministry in responding to an editorial in one of the local daily newspapers which argued that the Government has been slow in advancing the incorporation of clean power sources.

“The presumption that Jamaica’s investment decisions on renewables or generation capacity are being made within a vacuum, is unfounded and inaccurate,” the ministry said in an open letter to the newspaper’s editor.

The Energy Ministry highlighted that it has partnered with multilateral lenders to develop procurement rules and guidelines. Another action area is an update to the integrated resource plan (IRP) that is due to be completed by year-end.

Jamaica’s IRP activated

The IRP was approved in February 2020 and forecast that annual electricity demand – “in the most likely case” – would grow 1.43 per cent, and that peak demand was projected to hit 848MW in 2035 from 640MW in 2015.

“An integral aspect of achieving this goal… is an enabling and adaptive policy and legislative framework, which mirrors the transitions and developments taking place in global energy.”

Energy Minister Daryl Vaz

The roadmap’s new version will cover 2021-40 and prioritise wind and solar, and grid modernisation. Plans call for renewable energies to account for 50 per cent of power generation in the coming years from around 20 per cent currently.

“An integral aspect of achieving this goal… is an enabling and adaptive policy and legislative framework, which mirrors the transitions and developments taking place in global energy,” Energy Minister Daryl Vaz reported recently.

Jamaica’s renewable energy capacity in 2021 – and that in 2019 and 2020 – stood at 254MW, of which 99MW is wind, 93MW solar, 32MW biomass and 30MW hydro, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Jamaica ranked 72 in the World Energy Council’s 2021 Trilemma Index, which looks at energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability of energy systems in 101 countries,

In a related development, information from IDB Invest, the private lending arm of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), shows that financing was approved to support Soleco Energy’s construction of 11.25MWp of solar distributed generation and battery storage in Jamaica.

Inter-American Development Bank headquarters at Washington, D.C.

It was previously reported that the company looked to secure US$25 million. Earlier this year, the IDB included technical cooperation in its pipeline of potential financing to help the Caribbean nation identify decarbonisation opportunities.

“In 2020, Jamaica spent approximately US$1 billion on imported fossil fuels that represented seven per cent of gross domestic product. Additionally, 80 per cent of the imported fossil fuels were consumed by the electricity and transport… sectors,” the regional development bank said.

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