Wigton's expansion projects halted by COVID-19

Business

Wigton's expansion projects halted by COVID-19

Possible timeline affected by uncertainty surrounding pandemic

BY KELLARAY MILES
Business reporter
milesk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

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As the general pace of business activities continue to be impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Wigton Windfarm said that COVID-19 has slowed down its plans for expansion to other countries in the region.

Speaking at the season finale for this year's airing of Mayberry's Investor forums, Earl Barrett, managing director of Wigton, said that the company, in its drive to satisfy energy demand across the region, was already engaged in looking at a number of projects locally and across the Caribbean.

“Our training labs have been offering training across the Caribbean and even to non-Caricom countries and so we have been positioning ourselves in these countries and if it was not for the advent of COVID-19, we were almost sure that we would have been doing one or two projects in other Caribbean countries,” he said, noting that while the plans could be as soon as next year, the uncertainties associated with current pandemic continues to impact possible timelines.

“We still are pursuing them, we still are making ourselves prepared. We have at least one project ready for Jamaica and about five others across the Caribbean looking at,” he added.

Wigton which is 100 per cent Jamaican-owned generates some 6.2 per cent of the country's total contract capacity of all power producers and operates a 62.7 megawatt (MW) complex, which has assisted in reducing the dependence on fossil fuels thus saving the country billions of dollars in its oil consumption.

With the region facing some of the highest costs of electricity globally, it expected that the prospects for securing good returns on investments can only auger well for company's seeking to tap into these areas, as many of these countries seek to transition towards renewable energy in an effort to achieve lower energy cost and lessen carbon emission.

Barrett, in further outlining his company's undertaking of other projects, said that at the local level some 13 projects have been engaged, at least 10 of which were making small movements monthly.

He said that while the company now mainly focuses on wind energy, the company, in venturing into the wider Caribbean, was open to diversification. “While Wigton was really set up as a renewable company and not solely for wind, it will always be looking at other options including hydro and waste energy which has the propensity to give better capacity factors.”

He further noted that having previously lost its bid to Eight Rivers Energy company to acquire another 34 MW to set up a forth phase of its operations, Wigton has since become agile and now positions well to take advantage of new prospects.

“Wigton is a company that is seeking to have very competitive rates, so we always keep our pencils sharpened and we will ensure that when the next bid is out in Jamaica, Wigton will be the winner,” he stated, maintaining that the company will continue to seek out ventures that will bring maximum value to its shareholders.

For its six months period ended September 30, Wigton saw reduced net profits of $455.7 million when compared the $541.5 million for the same period last year. The company's asset base, however, increased by some 8 per cent to $11.2 billion with a $3.9 billion shareholders equity and $1.5 billion in revenues.


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