New study shows viability of waste-to-energy project for Jamaica
Jamaica generates 1.5 million tonnes of residental and commercial waste annually.

The Privatisation Division of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is currently overseeing the reform of Jamaica’s waste management programme with plans to engage private investors to manage over a million tonnes of solid waste being generated annually.

The DBJ on June 23 indicated that a new Waste Characterisation Study conducted by a consortium of French and Jamaican consultants between July 2021 and March 2022 shows the viability of waste-to-energy technology, which is part of a proposed plan to privatise solid waste management services.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded the study and other areas of due diligence process on the waste management project.

In the coming weeks, the DBJ said, Seureca, the lead consultant, and the DBJ will host a forum with interested local and international investors to get feedback on the proposed transaction structure. It is anticipated that the transaction phase of the project will be launched in the third quarter of financial year 2022/23.

In an update, Ricardo Munroe, manager in the Public-Private Partnerships and Privatisation Division at the DBJ, which is overseeing the reform of the country’s waste management programme, explained that the study was one of several items on a list of requirements to be completed before the privatisation process could be finalised.

“Completion of the study means that Jamaica is now one step closer to realising its plans to privatise waste management services,” he said.

“The aim is to move away from open dumps to a more environmentally friendly method of disposing of our solid waste. Waste from households and businesses could soon be converted into energy or stored in sanitary landfills. And, as the findings show, there is enough waste being generated by Jamaicans to sustainably be converted into energy.”

The Waste Characterisation Study utilised advanced laboratory tests with samples prepared at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies and sent to France for analysis of chemical composition and heat value measurement.

It is the first local study to assess variations in waste generation by season by conducting three separate campaigns, one for each season:

• Moderately wet period (July 30 to August 19, 2021)

• Wet period (September 27 to October 22, 2021); and

• Dry period (February 7 to March 4, 2022)

“The data from the study shows that approximately 1.5 million tonnes of residential and commercial waste are generated annually in Jamaica and there is no significant variation in the volume of waste across the seasons examined,” said Munroe.

The study was commissioned by the Solid Waste Management Enterprise Team in June 2021 and is part of the due diligence process for the proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project. The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSMWA) provided logistical support, technical input, and equipment to facilitate the consultants’ work.

The Enterprise Team, appointed by Cabinet, is comprised of private and public sector experts who oversee the development of the waste management PPP project.

In the DBJ press update, Chairman Lyttleton Shirley was quoted as saying he believed that the study has presented credible data not only to finalise important aspects of the business case but also to facilitate their planning for a bidding process which is expected to take place later this year.

Shirley also said that the Enterprise Team and consultants were also conducting comprehensive due diligence exercises to finalise the business case for the project.

He outlined, “We’re also doing a siting study, public-private partnership transaction structuring [to determine the terms of the PPP investment opportunity that will be presented to the market], the Riverton disposal site closure plan, and post-PPP institutional strengthening for the NSWMA.”

When all the due diligence studies are completed, the business case will be finalised and submitted to Cabinet for approval.

The DBJ’s managing director said the study “is a huge step in the development of the project and we look forward to its successful and timely conclusion”. The findings of the study are now available on the websites of the DBJ and the NSWMA.

MUNROE...the aim is to move away from open dumps to a more environmentally friendly method of disposing of our solid waste.

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