Jamaica's energy landscape stands at a crossroads as nuclear power is being considered.
In response to the Jamaican Government's intention to explore nuclear energy, the expressed concerns of authors like Trevor Noel Blair and Ambassador Byron Blake, Jamaica's former deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, underscore the potential drawbacks.
Blair elucidates issues concerning radioactive waste disposal, water consumption, and the risk of environmental disasters, while Blake highlights the challenge of finding suitable locations for nuclear power plants and emphasizes the importance of thorough consultation before making irreversible commitments.
Conversely, other contributors, like Haile Dennis, advocate for the potential benefits of nuclear power, focus on the safe management of radioactive waste, water usage, and the potential for reliable energy generation. Their opinions underscore the need for informed decision-making in the pursuit of a sustainable and resilient energy future for Jamaica.
Reforming the Electricity Act of 1995 is still essential. To foster renewable energy adoption, it is plausible to make solar panels and alternative energy generation methods economically more accessible, if not free. This move can ignite a green energy revolution. Simultaneously, registering electricity generation with the Government and introducing sensible taxation mechanisms ensure fair distribution of costs and benefits among Jamaican citizens.
Furthermore, decentralisation is the way forward. Removing houses from the grid and encouraging independent power generation aligns with the growing power needs of electric vehicles (EVs), which have become more commonplace.
A substantial reduction in the oil bill is on the horizon. As battery-swapping stations powered by alternative energy emerge, the transition to cleaner transportation is accelerated. For a sustainable future we recommend a bold step: make all vehicles imported after 2025 electric. This approach complements the evolving green energy grid, aligning with global sustainability goals.
Nuclear energy should be approached with caution, addressing the concerns raised by critics. The alternative is to transform Jamaica's energy landscape by making renewable energy accessible, promoting decentralised energy generation, reducing the oil bill, and spearheading the transition to electric vehicles. This holistic strategy ensures a more sustainable and independent energy future for Jamaica.
L H Deer
Physics and integrated science teacher
Tivoli Gardens High School