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Gov't saves $230m under energy efficiency and conservation projects

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) —The Government has saved $230 million, to date, and reduced environmental emissions from the implementation of major programmes in energy efficiency, conservation and management.

The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ)-implemented initiatives are the Deployment of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector Project, launched in 2016, to provide renewable energy and energy-efficiency systems in six hospitals; and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme (EECP) to retrofit several government entities and facilitate training in best practices for energy efficiency and conservation.

The EECP has given way to the US$40-million Energy Management and Efficiency Programme (EMEP) officially launched on March 30 and is intended to improve energy efficiency in the public sector, through retrofits at government facilities, and enhance urban traffic management in order to shorten travel times. It will also strengthen the technical capabilities of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology to enhance energy planning.

Portfolio Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley, said that together, these programmes have enabled the country to “cut down expenditure and high electricity bills within the public sector”.

“We are environmentally conscious people as well, so we (have) also reduced our carbon footprints. To date, we have cut our carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 tonnes, and that is important. We have also reduced our demand for fossil fuels, reducing oil importation by some 2,293 barrels,” he noted further.

He was speaking at the launch of the PCJ/Government of Jamaica, Energy Champion Competition at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on June 13.

Turning to the renewable energy programme, Wheatley explained that having already moved the original target of obtaining electricity from these sources from 20 to 30 per cent by the year 2030, the Government is contemplating raising the target even further.

“The reason for this is that we have been implementing renewables at a rapid pace. Currently, we are somewhere between 17 and 18 per cent of electricity coming from renewable sources,” he noted, adding that the Government is seeking to “aggressively go to the market to get more renewables on to the grid”.

“The Electricity Act and the licence given to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in January of 2016, speak to us making the necessary provisions to accommodate more renewables,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Manager of Corporate Affairs and Communications at the PCJ, Camille Taylor, explained that the aim of the Energy Champion Competition is to have every single member of the public sector and the wider public engaged in conserving energy.

“We want to see great savings across the public sector. We want to see great savings across households and businesses, and that is what the competition is all about,” she said.

A total of $20 million in prizes is up for grabs in the competition, which is an initiative of the PCJ under the EECP.

The competition includes categories for government agencies, schools financed by the Consolidated Fund, and individual citizens. Organisations can win a five-kilowatt or 10-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system valued at up to $5 million or a runner-up prize of up to $1.5 million in energy efficiency and conservation goods and appliances.

Entry requirements include a dedicated JPS meter at the participating entities' location and the formation of an energy management committee, which will develop and implement an energy-efficiency and conservation plan.

Participating entities must demonstrate a reduction in energy use over a three-month period between October and December 2018 when compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

During the 2017 staging of the competition, the National Works Agency (NWA) was crowned Energy Champions while eGov Jamaica Limited and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service placed second and third, respectively, in the organisational component of the competition.

On the individual side, there were 17 winners of prizes that included smartwatches, mini smart switches, energy bulbs/LED desk lamps and tablets.

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