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'E-mobility ready'

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 26, 2020

LOOKS like Jamaica is making serious preparations to join the rest of the world in creating a highly technological transport environment with the inclusion of e-mobility.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) Fayval Williams, since last summer, has been talking about her significantly advanced transformation agenda, which includes institutional changes at least eight entities which fall under her ministry, based on recent Cabinet decisions.

These include winding up the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), to allow its core functions to be brought into a new division under MSET, while the Ministry of Finance and Public Service has been finalising the structure for a new energy division.

So far, she says the wind-up has released $5.7 billion of cash to the Consolidated Fund, as well as underutilised and much-needed talent into her ministry to accelerate the work .

Last week, she reminded the House of Representatives of her message, that Jamaica was taking “brisk, bold steps” towards completing an Electric Motor Vehicle Policy.

Actually, Jamaica is rated among the top-five neighbouring countries, like Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Island and the Dominican Republic, in untapping potential for electric vehicles (EVs). However, the whole region has fallen way behind Europe, which boasts the most EV-ready system in the world.

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), their transport sector accounts for only approximately 27 per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the Europe. They have found that switching to electric vehicles is one of the easiest ways to reduce their carbon emissions, and help tackle climate change.

The Netherlands lead Europe with the mature electric vehicles, thanks mainly to its growth in EV registrations and its numerous charging stations.

But, according to the minister, she now has a strategic framework setting out a road map for the implementation of e-mobility in Jamaica, which takes into consideration the policies, regulations and financial requirements that must be part of a more holistic approach.

“I wish to thank the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the technical assistance in developing the framework,” she told the House.

The motivation sprang the high-level stakeholder consultations on the e-mobility in Montego Bay in February hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), as a side event on e-mobility, on the margins of the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA).

“This event brought experts and thought leaders from around the region, and internal and external stakeholders, to advance the public consultation on e-mobility. The framework provides for a whole of country approach to achieve a cleaner, energy efficient transportation sector, build resilience, improve air quality and help the country curtail its exposure to the volatility of oil prices,” Williams said.

She also noted that development partners are willing and able, and stakeholders are all on board and ready to move with the programme.

“The Government is ready, the country is now in pole position for a deliberate and measured implementation of e-mobility which is a significant national priority,” she said.