Invest in Energy
Jamaica’s energy system is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, petroleum imports account for over 90 percent of electricity production. This oil import dependency comes at a high cost. Oil import costs peaked with the global oil price spike in 2008, reaching US$2.7 billion. Import costs remain high and can be expected to increase further as oil prices rise in the future. Electricity prices for Jamaica’s people have also shot up dramatically in recent years, reaching a high of US$0.42 per kWh. Consequently, Jamaica is charting a new path to energy security based on domestic renewable energy sources in order to build an energy system that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
Due in part to the central role of the bauxite and alumina industry, Jamaica has a high energy intensity, consuming an average of over 4,800 kWh per US$1,000 of GDP compared to other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The electricity generation sector is Jamaica’s largest petroleum consumer. The average efficiency for oil and diesel-fired steam generation in Jamaica is low, at 29 percent. Electricity losses on the grid are declining but still high, at 22.3 percent, of which 10 percent are technical and the rest are from theft and illegal connections.
The hotel & tourism sector faces high electricity costs due to lighting and air-conditioning needs (up to 10% of revenue for some hotels).
The National Water Commission is Jamaica’s single largest electricity customer, with electricity costs accounting for nearly 40 percent of annual revenue. It is currently undertaking rehabilitation efforts on pipelines and storage reservoirs to reduce energy consumption.
The Government’s primary objective is to diversify the national energy supply into a mix of energy sources for energy security. The policy of the Government of Jamaica is that there is no restriction on the sources of electricity generation and may include solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro, biofuels/biomass and waste to energy solutions, petroleum coke, coal and natural gas.
Jamaica Public Service Company Limited is Jamaica’s sole electric utility, serving the population of 2.7 million.
Here’s a quick glance at how the sector has performed over the last five (5) years…