Jamaica says wind energy the way to go

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday, September 13, 2012 – The Jamaican government is undertaking a wind mapping study to determine wind blowing patterns and the best sites for erecting wind farms across the island.

And, following its successful investment in a Manchester wind farm, it is encouraging the private sector to follow suit and to consider wind energy as a lucrative area for investment.

“We are trying to encourage private players, not just government, to actually go into this as a business, because we believe that it is attractive enough for a company to make a return on their investment,” said Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), Julian Robinson.

“The Government took the lead and established the Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester, which is actually doing very well and provides significant power to the grid,” he said in an interview with JIS News.

“For a company to come into Jamaica they need to determine the areas that are ideal for them to establish these sites, so the wind mapping study is something we have undertaken. It’s a critical component of our renewable energy strategy,” Robinson told JIS News.

He noted that “not every location that is windy or has a strong gust of wind is suitable, and if the flow is inconsistent, then the output from the (wind) turbine is inconsistent, and it affects the grid’s stability and its delivery.”

Investment in wind energy is in keeping with the National Energy Policy, which seeks to provide the framework for the sustainable development and management of viable renewable energy resources to reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil for fuel. Last year over JAM $191 billion was spent importing oil for the country’s energy needs.

Using wind turbines for the generation of electricity enhances the country’s drive for clean energy. It also reduces the emissions from burning traditional fuels and lowers the country’s carbon output.

Renewable energy is expected to represent some 20 per cent of the country’s energy mix by 2030. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)