Business

Wigton expansion priced at $4.6b

Friday, April 25, 2014    

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THE 24 megawatt (MW) expansion at Wigton Windfarm Limited will cost some $4.6 billion, according to a just released government documentation.

The upgrade will increase energy production over 60 per cent at Wigton a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

"The facility should be completed in the first quarter of 2015/16," said the Jamaica Public Bodies 2014/5 published this month by the Ministry of Finance.

Wigton plans to expend $3.3 billion this year on the project, according to accounts within the same document subtitled Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending March 2015.

The renewable energy company was one of three companies selected by the Office of Utilities Regulation last October to add some 78 MW in renewable energy to the grid.

Wigton will sell its wind energy to Jamaica Public Service Company under a power-purchase agreement.

The cash-strapped Government will finance the windfarm's expansion by tapping into the concessionary oil fund, PetroCaribe.

"Financing for the project is to be provided by the PetroCaribe Development Fund, consistent with the entity's mandate to support the diversification of Jamaica's energy mix," added the document.

The PetroCaribe fund manages loan proceeds flowing to the Government under a concessionary oil agreement with the Government of Venezuela. The fund invests the inflows through financing of local projects.

The latest expansion will be the third since the facility was established in 2000. The project will create 125 temporary jobs at the company which has a permanent staff complement of 18. Wigton is projected to make $565 million in net profit for the fiscal year or 200 per cent higher year-on-year from sales of $1.6 billion.

The expansion aims to provide energy to nearly 32,000 homes or an additional 63 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year to the existing 100 GWh.

Windfarms are part of Government's drive to diversify the country's energy mix. The project will increase renewable energy from seven to 9.36 per cent upon completion. However it still falls below 2015 renewable targets of 12.5 per cent as stated under the National Energy Policy, part of Vision 2030.

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