Four other solar-powered irrigation systems coming

Four other solar-powered irrigation systems coming

BY HORACE HINES
Staff reporter
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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BENGAL, Trelawny – Following the introduction of the National Irrigation Commission's (NIC) first large-scale solar photovoltaic system at the Bengal pump station in Trelawny, built at a cost of $37.77million, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw announced that the NIC is well on its way to power four other of its facilities with solar energy over the next two months.

Shaw noted that the system installed at the Bengal pump house is expected to reduce the annual energy cost at the facility by $3 million.

“The NIC is now advanced in its objectives to have five of its offices and pump stations powered by solar photovoltaic systems by March 2020,” Shaw said at the commissioning ceremony on the grounds of the Bengal Pump House in Trelawny on Thursday.

“As a part of the NIC's energy risk management strategy, several initiatives have been implemented to reduce energy use and associated costs, including:

• the replacement of inefficient motors and pumps to reduce energy waste,

• conveyance improvements to reduce water losses, and

• retrofitting of pump facilities with energy-saving devices to reduce energy demand.

“The ultimate goal is to minimise the organisation's energy footprint in order to self-generate energy for consumption.”

According to Shaw, the retrofit of the Trelawny system includes the installation of a 90kW grid-tied solar photovoltaic system to self-generate 75 per cent of the energy requirement of the pump station.

For his part, chairman of the NIC, Senator Aubyn Hill stated that the irrigation company is on a drive to reduce operating costs and it's reliance on fossil fuels and to align itself with the sustainable development goal to use clean and affordable energy.

He noted that the NIC is working towards the generation of some 16 per cent of its energy with the use of renewable energy by the next two years.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious target that by 2022 the NIC should be self-generating approximately 16 per cent or more of its energy requirement, using renewable energy technologies. The NIC is also a key agecy in the implementation of the Essex Valley Agricultural Development in south St Elizabeth, which is a major venture in St Elizabeth with a substantial solar component, projected to generate approximately 3.5 megawatts of power,” Senator Hill pointed out.

“Additionally, agricultural developments in Pedro Plains, St Elizabeth, will be assisted by 6.4 megawatt solar system. We are not just talking about Bengal, we are talking about taking NIC's renewable energy — under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries — across the country.”

The Bengal Pump Station serves the Braco irrigation district in Trelawny.

The retrofit includes the installation of a 90kW grid-tied solar photovoltaic system to self-generate 75 per cent of the energy requirement of the pump station.

This retrofit will reduce the cost to produce a cubic metre of water within the Braco Irrigation District by 50 per tcent.

“ The use of this renewable energy technology will not only influence cost, but also reduce the NIC's carbon footprint by 110 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions annually,” Shaw said.

The project was completed in five months.


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