The joint venture Azurest Cambridge group, named by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on Wednesday as preferred bidder to construct the 360-megawatt energy plant, has denied offering energy to the national grid at US$0.1390 cents per kilowatt hour.
"I don't know if those were the right prices for the other bidders. We haven't seen any other bid and the data point that was put out there wasn't exactly our price either," Kenneth Allen, managing director for the group, told a press briefing at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston yesterday.
Allen explained that Leonard Enrique, president of Cambridge Project Development Inc, one of the joint venture partners, in discussions with the OUR seven months ago, was asked to put the group's "best price on the table".
"The OUR said, we know you don't have enough data to do the very best, but we want you to put your best price on the table. At that time we said, look, 'we want the right project for Jamaica. If we are successful in this project, we will be successful long-term. And so, what we committed to the OUR was, we are going to put our best price on the table; once we put that best price on the table, we will work with the OUR and at that point they will be able to give us more data," Allen explained.
He said that the joint venture's target was closer to halving the current 42 cents per kilowatt-hour cost, to approximately 20 cents.
"We think we can cut the cost of generation by half... (but) the impact on Jamaica over time, we can't know. We don't have enough data to accurately state that," Allen noted.
"I know it was alluded to yesterday in the OUR press conference... What we know is that we are going to generate just over 300 megawatts of power; what we know is that the average daily use of the grid is about 600 megawatts; so we are providing half of that power that is used on a day-to-day basis.
"If we can provide half of the power that is being consumed on a day-to-day basis to Jamaica, and provide it at at least half of what it is produced for today, we think that is a significant amount of savings that could make its way into the system," Allen explained.
However, he pointed out that, even with his group's best will, there was still the question of how much of those savings will ultimately reach the consumers.
"We can't opine on that. We don't know that. We don't have any oversight of what happens once the power goes into the JPS grid. That is really a conversation between the OUR and the JPS," he said.
Allen argued that the job of his preferred group is to run "the most efficient power generation capability" it can, and deliver the best gas at the best price, "and allow those savings to kind of hit the grid and then, hopefully, ultimately, everyone benefits".