Costly Fossil Fuel Imports Driving Jamaica’s Renewable Energy Development

Country Overview

The island nation of Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea. The population of Jamaica is approximately 2.83 million people.

Jamaica became a British colony in 1707 and a Crown colony in 1866. Jamaica became an independent country on August 6, 1962. Jamaica remains a member of the British Commonwealth.

In 2022, Jamaica’s economy was ranked 123rd in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on tourism and the export of  aluminum oxide, hard liquor, aluminum ore, and processed fruits and nuts.

Environmental Policies

In 2016, Jamaica signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to a 7.8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to a business-as-usual baseline.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, 100% of the people in Jamaica had access to electricity. In 2021, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) used refined petroleum (47.4%), liquified natural gas (36.5%), and renewable energy (16.1%) to generate electricity across the island nation. Wind, solar, and hydropower are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Puerto Rico.

Renewable energy developments in Puerto Rico include:

  • 100 MW Renewable Energy Tender – In September 2023, the Jamaican government announced a tender for renewable energy projects for the nation’s power grid. Selected companies will be required to build wind, solar, and hydropower facilities with individual project capacity ranging from 5 MW to 50 MW.
  • 51 MW Solar Project – In October 2019, Jamaica Public Service company commissioned the Paradise Park solar project, which is located on the western area of the island nation.
  • 28 MW Solar Project – In February 2017, American company WRB Enterprises commissioned the Content Solar Photovoltaic Park at a site approximately 25 miles west of the nation’s capital, Kingston.

Conclusions

Jamaica imports all fossil fuels (oil, and natural gas) for power generation and transportation. In 2021, Jamaica imported  U.S. $530 Million of refined petroleum, U.S. $410 Million of liquified natural gas, and U.S. $203 Million of crude oil.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Jamaica has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources including onshore wind, solar, offshore wind, hydropower, and biomass. The cost of importing expensive fossil fuels is accelerating Jamaica’s move to low-cost renewable energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

 

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