Jamaica closer to energy mix target with new LNG terminal, PM says

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 22, 2019

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness says that Jamaica is on track to achieve its ambitious target of 50 per cent of its electricity needs being generated by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and renewables by 2030.

Confirming that he is in a celebratory mood, at last Friday's commissioning of New Fortress Energy's floating storage and regasification terminal in Old Harbour, Holness said Jamaica would reach almost 44 per cent input of renewables and other clean fuels into its energy mix with the completion of the project, which he described as “a major achievement”.

“Completion of the terminal will firmly establish the island as a premier liquefied natural gas hub. It is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and will supply 190 megawatts (MW), from its Old Harbour plant, through it's natural gas pipelines,” he noted.

“Jamaica is now firmly rooted in the LNG industry, and that is what I want to convey to the Jamaican people — that it is one thing to just have infrastructure, but [to] have all the support services that go into making the infrastructure work...Jamaica will benefit from that,” he pointed out.

In addition, he noted that the management of the platform is largely Jamaican, and while the ship and crew are mainly from overseas, Jamaicans are being trained as they get more exposure, and will eventually be able to not only manage the ship but also manage and maintain the pipelines.

“So we are going to be firmly rooted,” Holness remarked.

The terminal will provide environmentally friendly, lower-cost fuel to several facilities, including the Jamaica Public Service's soon-to-be-completed 190-megawatt power plant in Old Harbour, as well as the new co-generation power plant at Jamalco's alumina refinery in Clarendon.

New Fortress is also supplying LNG to The University of the West Indies and local beer company, Red Stripe, and the terminal is also providing LNG for other local companies including Caribbean Products, Appleton, IGL Limited, CB Group, Clarendon Distillers Limited, Wisynco, and Seprod.

New Fortress erected a new floating regasification vessel called the Golar Freeze offshore Old Harbour, under a long-term deal which is expected to generate US$22 million in revenues annually.

Holness said the New Fortress company is able to do this because it has the support of Caribbean Maritime University.

“And we must do everything in our power to protect that university, because it is from those classrooms, those teachers and lecturers and labs that we will get the skills necessary to not just maintain this [project], but to expand the industry and provide labour and technical skills,” he added.

New Fortress Energy, a subsidiary of global energy infrastructure company Fortress Investment Group, is headed by billionaire investor Wesley Edens.

Edens is an American businessman and private equity investor who is also a co-founder of Fortress Investment Group and founder of New Fortress Energy. He is also a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks — the prominent American National Basketball Association franchise based in Wisconsin — and the Aston Villa football team in the United Kingdom, which returns to the top-rung English Premier League next season.

Edens paid tribute to Holness and the JPS, whose “vision and commitment” he said has dramatically changed the country's energy landscape in just a few years.

“Just three years ago, oil-based fuels generated all the country's electricity. By next year natural gas and renewable energy will power most of Jamaica's grid. Economic conditions are improving, new jobs are being created, and the reduction in emissions will be equivalent to planting 10 million trees,” Edens informed the Jamaica Observer.

“We are especially proud of all the hard work of our Jamaican employees and countless local partners. With the creation of many new jobs and our economic partnerships with local universities, a skilled LNG workforce is developing in Jamaica that will drive innovation throughout the Caribbean,” he noted.


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