UK team leads successful drive to introduce revolutionary US$60-m renewable energy project to Jamaica


Sunday, October 20, 2019

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Jamaica's quest to achieve 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030 is set to get a US$60-million boost with the setting up of the first utility-scale floating solar plant in the Caribbean.

The international partnership greenCrowd, through its client Derillion Energy, has acquired the development rights to install, operate and own a new 45-megawatt floating solar PV plant with grid energy storage system and grid frequency response, system in St Andrew.

The plant will be based on the Mona Reservoir which is lined with a specially prepared compacted soil blanket, and is the main water supply for the Corporate Area.

“This project is transformative and confirms Jamaica's position as a regional leader in tackling climate change and energy independence. Floating solar is coming of age, and governments, utilities and investors are waking up to the advantages of this technology,” said Alex Germanis, a partner at greenCrowd.

The United Kingdom's (UK) Department for International Trade (DIT), which was instrumental in arranging the investment, has described the planned development as heralding a new beginning for Jamaica's renewable energy push.

Racquel Peters, country director for the DIT team which operates out of the British High Commission in Kingston, said it is keen to see the island benefit from more innovative UK investments.

According to Peters, while the team has had many wins in Jamaica through its increased engagement with events like the annual UK-Jamaica Fair, this is a great success as it highlights how UK expertise harmoniously aligns with some of Jamaica's national development goals.

“Jamaica was among the first small island developing states to become a party to the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and with Jamaican leaders becoming a global voice on climate change, this project will go the distance towards Jamaica's National Energy Policy goal, which commits Jamaica to building a more resilient and sustainable energy system,” said Peters.

She pointed out that her department's role in this initiative was working with greenCrowd on stakeholder engagement through facilitating meetings in Jamaica and the UK, to secure the necessary green lights for the project.

Peters underscored that the DIT team in Kingston has the commitment and enthusiasm to assist as many UK firms desirous of doing business with Jamaican companies, along with aiding UK investors in Jamaica.

In the meantime, British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad noted that protecting the environment and making greater use of clean energy is a big part of the UK's partnership with the Government of Jamaica and across the Caribbean, as set out in the UK's Caribbean Strategy.

“I am delighted that we have been able to work with greenCrowd Energy in helping to establish this innovative project here. The UK is a world leader in identifying and delivering environmentally sustainable solutions to complex problems at a local level, as well as helping to lead the global effort to tackle climate change by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow next year,” said Ahmad.

The floating solar plant is being designed with many environmental attributes and should help to reduce the amount of diesel fuel imported into the island, reduce the amount of water evaporation from the reservoir, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a reliable source of competitive, sustainable power to Jamaica.

The plant will provide power directly to the National Water Commission for use at the Mona Reservoir plant, with work scheduled to begin in the first quarter of next year.

“We have spent several years now designing, manufacturing and testing the products that will be used in this project. We see it as the responsibility of developers to deliver innovative and technological solutions to help 'islander' countries integrate largescale renewable projects in the most cost-effective way,” said Simon Piggott, founder and CEO of Derillion Energy.

“We are delighted to be working with Jamaica's National Water Commission as the project will significantly reduce water losses from evaporation and lower energy costs,” added Piggott.

He was supported by Rick Gambetta, founder and partner in greenCrowd who expressed delight to be working with Derillion Energy on this innovative project.

“United Kingdom firms continue to be at the forefront of the global sustainable energy transition, innovating, educating and solving what may seem to be intractable challenges,” said Gambetta.

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