Business

Windstream Technologies aims for US$120m in renewables in Ja

BY STEVEN JACKSON

Wednesday, April 09, 2014    

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Windstream Technologies, a US based renewable energy start-up aims to sell US$120 million ($13 b) worth of wind/solar turbines in Jamaica within four years.

It has already secured over US$14 million in orders from large power supplier Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) in the first quarter of this year alone, management indicated.

The move aims to slash customer electricity bills at nearly four times that of average rates in the US. These compact wind turbines are already seen on rooftops including the headquarters of JPS in Kingston.

"If we are successful in executing this contract and are able to secure the needed capital to fulfill this large order, at current rates, this could potentially result in greater than US$120 million of revenue to WindStream," stated the company in a notice to shareholders obtained by the BusinessObserver.

JPS last year received the Windstream distribution rights for Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Grand Cayman and Dominica.

"This contract calls for US$14.5 million of products to begin delivery in first quarter of 2014," stated Windstream about its Jamaica contract.

Oil fuels forms the the bulk of energy used for electricity generated locally. The cost of oil close to US$100 a barrel ,has tripled over the course of a decade. This has resulted in local rates at some US$0.43 per kWh compared withaverage rates of US$0.12 in the US, Windstream indicated.

"As Jamaica enjoys abundant sunshine and wind, renewable energy generation provides a strategic advantage. Moreover, the government also has a policy to grow the renewable energy portfolio significantly in its 2030 vision statement. At $0.43 per kWh and rising, energy costs in general and electricity in particular command a disproportionate share of the household and operational budgets," stated the company.

"SolarMill product line offers a very compelling solution to customers of JPS. SolarMills offset the cost of energy with renewables while reducing the demand on the JPS generation and distribution infrastructure."

WindStream began selling its products to the world last June. Its main products are the TurboMill, a wind powered generator and SolarMill, a hybrid wind and solar device. JPS previously told the Observer that it would sell the hybrid solarMill systems, stand-alone and grid-tied inverters, batteries and battery housing, as well as solar panels.

WindStream's management include CEO Dan Bates, chief operating officer Travis Campbell, chief financial officer Ryan Keating, vice president Daniel Harris and chief scientist Richard Wirz.

The wind and solar mills are scaleable, offering low cost per watt usage. The energy potential of each unit is 230 kilowatt hours per year at average windspeeds of five metres per second (roughly 11 miles per hour).

Last November, JPS secured US$30 million in loans with a possible option for an additional US$15 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the lending arm of the World Bank. The financing would support the capital needs of JPS and ameliorate its fuel oil dependence via renewables.

JPS is owned by Japan-based Marubeni Corporation at 40 per cent; South-Korea-based Korea East-West Power at 40 per cent; the Government of Jamaica at 19.9 per cent; and some 3,000 shareholders holding the remaining 0.1 per cent of the shares.

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