March 9, 2015

Wind and more wind

Garfield Myers | Jamaica Observer | March 09, 2015 |

MANDEVILLE, Manchester – Ground was broken for two major wind energy projects in south Manchester and south east St Elizabeth late last month.

First was Wigton III, a 24MW plant, part of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Wigton wind farm which currently produces just under 38.7MW of wind energy at Rose Hill in South Manchester.

The work on Wigton III will be carried out by Spanish wind energy company Gamesa under a US$45-million contract. Planners say 80 per cent of the funding is coming from the preferential Venezuela/Caribbean oil alliance, PetroCaribe, with 20 per cent from Wigton equity.

A few days later, a second project was launched in the hills of Malvern close to Munro College in St Elizabeth, across the road from an existing Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) wind farm.

That’s an initiative of BMR Jamaica Wind Limited, a subsidiary of the US-based BMR Energy.

The Malvern project is costing US$80 million with the bulk of the money coming from the US quasi government investment agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) which promotes US overseas investment. OPIC has US$700 million committed to financing renewable energy investments in the Caribbean.

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell said a third renewable energy project for south central Jamaica will be launched in Content Village, Clarendon soon. Paulwell said the solar project, worth $7 billion and providing 20MW, will also be developed by US investors.

Paulwell said the renewable projects formed part of a determination to reduce Jamaica’s US$2 billion oil import bill.

He also described as “music to my ears”, news that the Malvern project will provide direct and indirect employment of close to 200 people during the construction phase.

PCJ officials told Jamaica Observer Central that Wigton III will provide about 125 temporary jobs during construction.

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