BMR allows for JPS stake in planned wind farm

Thursday, April 17, 2014    

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JAMAICA Public Service Company (JPS) has the option to buy a 20 per cent in US-owned Blue Mountain Renewables (BMR) US$90 million ($9.9 billion) wind farm in St Elizabeth.

The planned 34-megawatt (MW) wind farm, which received regulatory approval last year, should slash US$500 million in oil imports over 20 years.

Discussions on the project were hitherto known but not plans to offer JPS a stake in the venture.

"The proposed BMR Jamaica Wind Farm project had been previously studied by JPS who agreed to sell such prior work products to BMR, for their use in developing the new Wind Farm," said BMR in its environment impact assessment submitted this year to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). "In exchange, JPS received certain payments and the option for JPS to invest in up to 20 per cent of the expansion project equity."

BMR was established by US power sector investors in order to develop renewable power generation facilities in the Caribbean and Central America.

Its principals include Bruce Levy, Andrew Rovito and Pip Decker.

The JPS currently owns and operates the transmission and distribution grid islandwide. It additionally generates 634MW of power, with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) generating an additional 289MW of power to JPS.

BMR was one of some 20 local and international firms which submitted bids to the power regulator in 2013 to supply up to 115 megawatts of renewable energy to the national grid on a build.

"BMR Jamaica Wind Ltd will have to apply to the OUR for a licence to operate the wind farm with generating capacity of 34 MW that they propose to construct," stated BMR.

The proposed project will have 18 wind turbines spread out on 87 acres on land adjacent the existing JPS Munro Wind Farm.

The existing Munro Wind Farm site is the subject of a long-term lease arrangement between JPS and the Government of Jamaica, stated BMR.

"The project will see between US$85 and $90 million being invested in the development of the wind facility, which will contribute approximately 4.8 per cent of energy generated by renewable sources to the renewable energy mix," BMR stated.

The project will help the country to reduce its overall dependence on oil, while helping the JPS to reduce system losses experienced through inefficient power plants.

BMR expects to provide 254 jobs directly and indirectly with 215 during the construction.

"The construction phase of the project is to be completed over 378 days. The construction phase is proposed to start in June 2014 and end in June 2015," stated BMR.

Neither JPS nor BMR responded to mailed queries up to print.

Government wants 20 per cent of energy generated from renewable sources by 2030.

"Currently the percentage of renewable sources in the energy supply mix is eight per cent (which includes biomass); three per cent lower than the target of 11 per cent by 2012," reasoned BMR in its report.





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