Business

More power for Kingston

Camilo Thame

Wednesday, August 01, 2012    

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Jamaica Energy Partners (JEP) has added its new 66 megawatt (MW) power plant at West Kingston to the national grid. Conduit Capital Partners, the US-based parent of JEP and a private equity investment firm focused on energy in the region, said it began "commercial operations of (its) West Kingston Power Project in Jamaica", yesterday.

The new plant is expected to reduce the overall amount of energy lost to heat by the numerous generators that supply the power grid by a little more than 0.5 per cent.

But Kingston will still have to import some 60 MW from other regions as the number of plants operating in the capital city fall short of the 340 MW peak demand.

JEP's third plant to come into operations brings the independent power provider's capacity up to 190 MW, and Kingston's installed generation to 286 MW.

Plans on JPS's drawing table include the construction of a US$475-million, 100-megawatt petcoke fuel plant at Hunts Bay, Kingston. But that is part of the second phase of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which will first see JPS build a US$600-million, 360-MW plant in Old Harbour, St Catherine, running to 2014.

JEP broke ground on the US$126-million West Kingston power plant in December 2010. The new system is powered by engines that can run on natural gas, but will start operations using heavy fuel oil.

Jamaica is still a way off from using natural gas, having just last week announced the preferred bidder -- Samsung C&T -- to build a Floating LNG regasification and storage facility.

The West Kingston plant will sell energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Jamaica Public Service Company, the national utility. It is expected to create 60 permanent jobs, and was financed by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation.

Conduit reacquired Jamaica Energy Partners and the right to develop the West Kingston Power Project through the firm's Latin Power III Fund in mid-2009.

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