Jamaica getting new energy policy

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 31, 2009 – A new energy policy is in the works for Jamaica.

The policy document, based on national consultations and comments from a wide cross-section of society as well as the realities facing Jamaica, has been tabled in Parliament by Minister of Mining and Energy, James Robertson.

According to the Minister the document represents a revision of the Energy Policy Green Paper 2006-2020, which had been tabled by the previous Government in 2006 but was never debated.

Robertson noted that the older document has been revised in keeping with the country’s long term plan to achieve developed country status by 2030, as articulated in Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan.

According to the Ministry Paper, the Strategic Framework- the goals and strategies underpinning the new National Energy Policy – is comprehensive and is expected to be durable to 2030 and beyond, yet be flexible and adaptable to meet new challenges and opportunities as they arise.

“This Strategic Framework also addresses both supply and demand energy issues the country faces and, as such, places priority attention on seven key areas,” the Ministry Paper added.

It listed the seven key areas as security of energy supply through diversification of fuels as well as development of renewables; modernizing the country’s energy infrastructure; development of renewable energy sources such as solar and hydro; energy conservation and efficiency; development of a comprehensive governance/regulatory framework; enabling government ministries, departments and agencies to be model/leader for the rest of society in terms of energy management; and eco-efficiency in industries.

The Ministry Paper said that by focusing on those seven priority areas listed above, “the National Energy Policy will ensure that the country minimizes the effects of volatile and rising crude oil prices, takes advantage of renewable resources and promotes conservation and efficiency in the use of energy resources amongst all sectors of the society”.

It also said that the ultimate outcome of achieving the goals of the policy will be the provision of more affordable energy supplies to Jamaican consumers, an improved competitive base for the country, as well as sustainable growth and development of the nation.