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UWI, New Fortress strike LNG deal

Projected 16% drop in greenhouse gas emissions, significant cost savings among benefits

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus will immediately upgrade its existing combined heat and power (CHP) plant to reduce its energy costs by over $52 million annually, and improve its environmental footprint with a 16 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

This upgrade is being facilitated by an agreement with New Fortress Energy, which will provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the Campus' plant. The changes will be visible as early as this September, and will ultimately enable the campus to become energy independent in the coming year.

The historic partnership will also provide tremendous educational benefits for staff and students at the UWI, Mona. New Fortress Energy will invest in grants and scholarships as well as the training of over 100 electrical power engineering students.

The number of students is expected to increase to over 300 in the next two years, with the Government of Jamaica and the university's goal being to dramatically increase the total number of graduating engineers to over 1,000 per year. This will strengthen and build further competence and capacity, ensuring the preparation of a next-generation workforce for the LNG industries in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean and North America. Additionally, members of the university's academic staff will benefit from new research programmes in cryogenics (the study of the production and behaviour of materials at very low temperatures).

“This great partnership will further allow clean and renewable energy to accelerate economic opportunity and environmental stewardship,” said Wes Edens, founder and chairman of New Fortress Energy. “UWI plays a critical role in Jamaica and the Caribbean by providing world-class education for the next generation of professionals, and our efforts will go a long way in achieving and advancing the university's goals. We are especially proud to begin investing in the education and training of Jamaica's new energy workforce. This partnership will continue to grow as Jamaica becomes the energy innovation hub and model for the rest of the Caribbean.”

Cogeneration or CHP produces electricity as well as thermal energy, which will be used to cool the buildings. The deal with New Fortress Energy to supply LNG is a prelude to the expansion of the capacity of the Mona Campus' co-generation plant, which will facilitate an additional $312 million annually in savings.

Under the terms of the fuel supply agreement, New Fortress Energy will upgrade and expand the existing cooling infrastructure currently at some of the sites being served by Mona's cooling facilities. This will immediately lower fuel costs whilst enabling the campus to cool an additional number of buildings and lecture rooms.

Pro-vice-chancellor and principal of The University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald welcomed the arrangement, which he said into the university's expansion model. “Developing and maintaining a world class university requires the seamless conjoining of many factors. In a consistently evolving world, our university is keeping up with the pace, not allowing our region to be left behind, and ensuring that we are fully equipped with the tools and ammunition to effectively shape and support the future.

“Collaborations such as the one with New Fortress Energy will enable the UWI, Mona to upgrade its infrastructure and expand its operations, while increasing revenues through strategic public-private partnerships,” Professor McDonald said.