The three-year technical cooperation project will bolster the Government’s efforts to boost the country’s renewable energy generation capacity while enhancing energy efficiency.
Similar support is also being provided to Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The project is being implemented in Jamaica in two phases and will be spearheaded by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).
At the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service in Kingston on April 12, portfolio Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, said the project’s implementation is timely, coming at a point “when efforts are being made by the Government of Jamaica to diversify its energy mix and reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuel”.
The undertaking, he pointed out, is aligned with Goals 3 and 4 under the Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan focusing on energy efficiency and security, and sustainable management and use of environmental and natural resources.
“This is particularly important to the overall economic development of the country, as it will help (to) stabilise energy costs, reduce the impact of fossil fuel emissions on the environment and support a progressive developmental framework by freeing up resources for redistribution into other key areas,” he noted.
Mr. Shaw expressed the Administration’s gratitude to the Japanese Government for facilitating the partnership in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency and indicated that “we look forward to continued development efforts, shared experiences as well as shared energy efficiency and conservation technology”.
PCJ Group Managing Director, Winston Watson, in his remarks, noted that the entity has been pivotal in implementing the Government’s energy programme in schools, hospitals and other public buildings, pointing out that the engagement has generated approximately $30 million in savings over the last two years.
He said based on the provisions of the project “this will allow us to intervene and carry out more programmes in about (another) 80 buildings”. He said the PCJ looks forward to working closely with JICA and the other stakeholders to execute the project.
For his part, Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Masanori Nakano, said the signing was a direct outcome of ongoing consultations between both countries’ Governments to formulate projects under Japan’s Official Development Assistance Policy to support Jamaica’s energy sector.
“So, as an essential development partner, it is our aim to continue providing our tangible support for Jamaica’s efforts to achieve continued growth and sustainable development. Towards this end, Japan is willing to work with other partners, public or private, to bring more synergy to valuable and rewarding development works for the people and Government of Jamaica,” he added.
JICA’s Resident Representative in Jamaica, Kenji Tobita, indicated that the project’s ultimate goal was ensuring energy security “through the introduction of renewable (options) and the promotion of efficiency.”
The project will, among other things, provide for the training of key local personnel involved in implementing the Government’s energy programme, a part of which will be conducted by a team of consultants slated to arrive in the island within three months.
The participants, drawn from the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology; National Energy Solutions Limited; and the PCJ, will, thereafter, undergo additional training in Japan, focusing on policies and technologies for promoting energy efficiency, micro grid systems, and grid stabilisation.
Additional inputs and benefits include the provision of software and instruments for grid and cost benefit analyses, as part of the baseline survey and training exercises.
The undertaking results from the Japanese Government’s commitment to assist the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the area of renewable energy, and emanates from a survey conducted by JICA between August 2014 and February 2015.
The findings of that engagement led to the project’s formulation.