Jamaica may be going nuclear
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday May 23, 2012 – In the short term, Jamaica will continue to combat its energy challenges by drilling for gas and oil. But going forward, a shift toward nuclear power may be on the cards.
That’s according to Energy Minister Philip Paulwell who outlined his vision for liberalization of the national grid while speaking at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“We need to find new fuel sources and so we are pursuing natural gas,” Paulwell said. “We believe that there is a role for coal, and I am committed one day, for Jamaica to utilize nuclear.”
The Energy Ministry is moving forward with plans to drill for gas and oil in its offshore waters next year, Paulwell said.
The country has already drilled 11 wells, 10 of which have shown oil, the minister revealed, although not in commercial quantities.
“We are determined now, with better science and technology, to go and find those commercial sources for oil and gas,” he stated.
Jamaica joins a number of Caribbean countries currently exploring offshore oil, including Cuba and Guyana.
Jamaica, which is already undertaking a plan to reduce utility bills in government ministries, needs to look at the way energy is distributed, Paulwell said.
“There is a fundamental issue that we have to deal with as a matter of urgency,” he noted. “I have to pursue the liberalization of the grid and this is a task that I am firmly committed to and I think we are going to achieve it, because I believe it’s a win-win for all of us.”
Taking advantage of new resources could be a way to clear out the country’s debt, he said.