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ECLAC, Renewable Energies Potential in Jamaica, June 2005

ECLAC, Renewable Energies Potential in Jamaica, June 2005

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Published by Detlef Loy
UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC): Renewable Energies Potential in Jamaica. Author: Detlef Loy
UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC): Renewable Energies Potential in Jamaica. Author: Detlef Loy

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Published by: Detlef Loy on Aug 07, 2009
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12/07/2013

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In the context of the Latin America and Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable
Development, Jamaica has made a commitment to raise the level of use of renewable energy to
10% of total energy, by 2010.

The Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology of Jamaica is aware of the changing
investment patterns that have made the pursuit of renewable energy markets a national priority,
along with studying associated technologies and their economic characteristics. The decision to
approach renewable energy from a market or end-use perspective has been taken in order to
catalyze commercial dissemination.

Furthermore, energy polices and planning have a major influence on market growth and
sustainability, and Jamaica’s National Energy Policy (1995), which is currently under review,
expresses the government’s commitment to continuing to foster, facilitate and encourage the
development of all new and renewable energy sources where feasible. In Jamaica, the total cost of
imported energy has increased from US$ 316.4 million in 1998, to US$ 640.7 million by 2002, an
increase of over 100% in four years. In 2003, Jamaica spent approximately US$ 800 million on
imported energy. It is the second largest user of foreign exchange after debt servicing. This places
a significant burden on the natural resource base to generate the needed foreign exchange.

With petroleum hitting an all-time high in early 2005, the need to diversify Jamaica’s
energy base has become even more urgent.

Protection of the environment is a primary objective of Jamaica’s National Energy
Policy, and one of the best options for reducing pressure on natural resources is to utilize the
abundant indigenous renewable energy resources. In addition to reducing the demand for foreign
exchange, the utilization of renewable energy resources would provide significant local
employment beyond what is currently provided by fossil-based systems.

In order to improve the capacity to deal with vulnerability, the jamaican and Caribbean
region needs to invest in renewable energy and energy-efficiency improvements as a priority.
Reducing the need for importing energy resources will significantly reduce vulnerability to global
climate change, as well as to the global economy. Already vulnerable for food security, the region
cannot continue to be also highly energy dependent, which leaves it even more vulnerable.

ECLAC – Project documents

Renewable energies potential in Jamaica

10

Jamaica has recognized that development in the field of renewable energy is critical to the
progress of the country.

*

*

*

With this in mind, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Caribbean (ECLAC) carried out a focus mission to Jamaica in July 2004, in order to identify
concrete areas for cooperation and governmental support in the field of renewable energy sources.
GTZ/CRDEP1

supported ECLAC during the mission, because of the high level of regional
synergy that those institutions are currently pursuing.

As a result of the discussion with different key-governmental stakeholders involved in the
study (Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica,
Ministry of Land and Environment, Scientific Research Council, Planning Institute of
Jamaica/Ministry of Finance and Planning, Water Resources Authority among others) –and in
view of the very positive context for enhanced cooperation between ECLAC, the Government of
Jamaica and GTZ– a final commitment was made by ECLAC to providing assistance to Jamaica
in the development of its renewable energy sources, while promoting the integration of economic,
social and environmental processes.

A study of the ”Renewable Energies Potential in Jamaica” was identified by all
stakeholders as a first, concrete step which could consolidate this cooperation process. Terms of
reference were then jointly prepared for the work, which would be carried out by an international
specialist before the end of 2004. The consultancy was then financed under the ongoing
ECLAC/GTZ joint project: “Promotion of Economic Development by Integration of
Environmental and Social Policy Approaches in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

The selected consultant (Dipl. Ing. Detlef Loy) started his activities in Jamaica in October
2004 maintaining close coordination with the various national stakeholders in the renewable
energies sector, in order to: i) obtain all the data needed to organize and centralize information on
the various renewable resources in the country; ii) carry out an updated analysis of the potential
of such resources; iii) identify the barriers to the full development of the related technologies; iv)
identify the most promising technologies; v) propose actions and policies to promote such
technologies.

The Government of Jamaica (mainly through the project’s local counterpart, i.e. the
Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology, solidly supported by the Petroleum Company of
Jamaica) granted the consultant full assistance in gathering all available information, also
providing ad-hoc personnel and logistic support for field visits and official meetings.

The concrete findings and result of the work are contained in the present Report.

1

Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Project (CREDP) of the German Agency for Technical
Cooperation (GTZ).

ECLAC – Project documents

Renewable energies potential in Jamaica

11

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