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JPS wants quick sign-off on new power plant bid

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Senior staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicoabserver.com

Monday, April 01, 2013    

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KELLY Tomblin, the president and chief executive officer of light and power provider, the Jamaica Public Service, is urging an early sign-off on the winning proposal for the construction of a new power plant.

"We are looking forward to an early decision. This new power plant will be a game-changer that will transform the energy landscape and make electricity cheaper for both businesses and residential customers," Tomblin said in a statement issued to the media yesterday.

The JPS is one of several bidders that submitted proposals on March 15 in response to the Office of Utilities Regulation's (OUR) renewed invitation for proposals to build new power plants.

Tomblin said the JPS had put forward suggestions for the construction of 360 Megawatts of new generation capacity, or part thereof, using combined cycle technology and a combination of fuel sources. She said the powering options would be: natural gas as primary fuel, with Automotive Diesel Oil (ADO) as backup fuel; Natural gas as primary fuel with inlet air-cooling power enhancement, and ADO as backup fuel; and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as primary fuel.

"The primary objective of our proposals is to achieve sustained reduction in electricity costs, while ensuring fuel diversification to reduce the country's dependence on oil," Tomblin said.

According to the JPS president, despite suggestions to the contrary, the company "is confident that combined cycle technology is of far greater benefit to the country than other options being considered, such as diesel engine technology".

"While we haven't seen the other proposals, our information shows that Combined Cycle Gas Turbine not only offers lower overall costs through greater efficiency and lower operating and maintenance costs. It is also more environmentally friendly," she argued.

Tomblin was also of the opinion that the current debate seemed to be limited to Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), notwithstanding the fact that LPG had emerged as a winner in many similar markets.

"Although JPS and the Government of Jamaica continue to evaluate all potential gas supply options, if the immediate supply options for LNG do not result in the desired reduction in electricity charges, LPG is a great option. LPG is more accessible right now and can be easily incorporated in our long-term plans for fuel diversification and price reduction. The current prices show LPG providing attractive cost reductions for our customers," she noted.

Tomblin added that JPS had collaborated with both local and international partners in its submissions to the OUR, noting: "JPS and our partners are far advanced in the planning and development of the project, and can begin implementation on whichever proposal is accepted by the OUR. We are looking forward to an early decision."

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