JPS Co to build Jamaica’s first Gas Turbine Power Plant in St. Catherine

The GOJ has finally acceded to the fact that LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is the best bet for Jamaica’s long term energy future. This as announced by Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications Philip Paulwell on Thursday January 9th 2012 at the American Chamber of Commerce to a rather enthusiastic crowd.

In addition, JPS Co is now on target to build Jamaica’s first Gas Turbine Plant to utilize LNG as its main fuel in St. Catherine with Diesel Generators to provide backup Power. More details on the LNG Plant in the days ahead as they become available.

This announcement is basically a re-affirmation of the Government of Jamaica’s commitment to International bidders who had come forward in response to Jamaica’s license issued for the procurement of:

  • LNG Supply
  • LNG Floating Storage Facilities
  • LNG Re-gasification Terminal
  • Pipeline Infrastructure to supply JPS Co Power Plants and JAMALCO’s Alumina Works and Power Plants

Before I begin this gas filled article, a few pointers:

  • LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is a transportation format for Natural Gas, a by-product of Oil Mining
  • CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is the on-land storage and pipeline transportation form
  • LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) is the Commercial and Residential usage form. It is also suitable for motor vehicle usage

So on to the Big News! The coming LNG as part of Jamaica’s Energy Mix is estimated to save Jamaica some US$300 million annually on our Oil Bill, both for Electricity Generation and Motor Vehicle Fuel Usage.

It is also a part of Jamaica’s long term Liberalization of the Energy Sector that began three (3) months prior with Energy Minister Clive Mullings’ suggested alternations of JPS Co’s exclusive ten (10) year license that signals the beginning of Energy Sector Liberalization as pointed out in the article Solamon Energy Corporation to build Caribbean’s Largest Solar Plant – Jamaica to get a Green Energy Boost , which Phillip Paulwell can now complete.

It is also a follow-on of the previous JLP-led Administration’s Energy Minister Paul Robertson push for Energy Sector Liberalization and introduction of LNG to JPS Co as well as reducing the cost of the production of Bauxite and possibly the production of Alumina here in Jamaica.

These are exciting times folks!

Progress on an issue that has had the previous political administrations in Jamaica set in deadlock is now a reality. Phillip Paulwell has even gone a step further and announced plans at the same American Chamber of Commerce which were recently published in the Jamaica Gleaner on Monday February 13th 2011AD for the establishment of a bi-partisan Energy Council to handle the complex issue of the diversification of Jamaica’s Energy Mix!

His word sum it up best, quote: “The council will take all the talk, all the papers over the years, and policies left on paper, and have them implemented once and for all. We have to get it right. We have wasted decades. We have not seen the improvement in the JPS largely because the Government failed to make appropriate and timely decisions. We have not seen the right fuel sources, and we intend to change all of that now. It is through this council that we will get the bureaucracy to work.”

A fulfillment of a recommendation made by then Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller on Friday May 6th 2011AD! With the number one priority being to reduce the cost of Electricity to both Residential and Commercial Customers!

Back then in May 2011AD in a three (3) hour speech, Portia Simpson Miller, now Prime Minister of Jamaica since the PNP’s landslide victory in December 2011AD, had outlined the composition of the Energy Council.

It was argued then to be bi-partisan in nature and to consist of members of the various Private and Public Sector entities whose businesses were directly impacted by the spiraling costs of Energy due to the movement of the price of Oil on the Global Mercantile Exchange Markets. Specifically she had recommended:

  • Government
  • Opposition
  • Petroleum dealers
  • Marketing companies
  • Power-generation companies
  • Academia
  • Consumers.

Phillip Paulwell has apparently followed through, with himself as Chairperson and Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Gregory Mair as Deputy Chairperson. LNG and Coal are set to be the main talking points, with the well known facts as it relates to obvious advantages laid out plain for all members of the Energy Council to Debate.

The developments in Energy in Jamaica should attract more FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) and Local Investors, as according to Phillip Paulwell, energy costs should fall by 55% to 62% over the next three (3) years.

  • Wind Energy is already on the cards as the Wigton Wind Farm is set for further expansion of the Phase II Project valued at US$47.5, gaining the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) pet project in November 2011AD an award from the Jamaica Institution of Engineers’ (JIE)
  • Hydroelectric Power is also set to feature in a big way as part of the GOJ’s Energy Sector Liberalization plans with licenses being issued for Hydroelectric Plant installations in December 2011AD.
  • Solar has already gotten a big boost by way of plans by Canadian-based Solamon Energy Corporation for what is effectively the largest Solar Power Plant in Jamaica as per my introduction  Solamon Energy Corporation to build Caribbean’s Largest Solar Plant – Jamaica to get a Green Energy Boost
  • American-based Green RG Management LLC or Green RG for short, has declared its intention to build a Plant in Jamaica to manufacture Solar Power Gear. Their aim: use Jamaica as a guinea pig to push into Latin America, a common theme among FDI’s seeing Jamaica as an excellent staging ground for their Grand Latin American Ambitions

But what are the advantages of LNG over Coal?

They are as follows:

  • LNG Plant and associated facilities are cheaper than a Coal Plant albeit LNG’s price is more expensive than plentiful Coal. This mainly has to do with increasing demand for LNG, as everyone is planning to use it instead of Coal
  • LNG in its companion form LPG burns cleaner in combustion engines than Oil and reduces Maintenance costs. An advantage for motor vehicles as per my article Auto LPG as a Motor Vehicle Fuel
  • It’s easier to store than Oil or Coal as its main storage form being LNG (Liquid Natural Gas), pipeline transportation form being CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and Commercial and Residential usage form being LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas)
  • It’s easily transported using pipelines, as opposed to Coal which mains uses Trucks, large Trailers or via Trains. Huge reductions in labour costs
  • LNG only poses an explosion danger to the environment as well as being as Greenhouse Gas. This is as opposed to Coal which poses a health, dust nuisance and explosive dust problem to residents living near to the LNG Re-Gasification Plant
  • LNG has a higher Energy Density packing 53 MJ/kg. This when compared to Diesel and Gasoline sporting figures of 46.2 MJ/kg and 46.4 MJ/kg respectively, making it excellent for use as a Motor Vehicle fuel
  • It can be used as fuel for Public Transport, saving the GOJ billions of dollars, a plan the Government of China has for its Public Transport system
  • Albeit LNG is a by-product of Oil Mining, it is actually renewable. It can be made in commercial quantities via the Anaerobic digestion of organic matter by Methane producing Bacteria
  • Generators that use LNG are Gas Turbine Generators. These Generators can be easily modified to use Hydrogen Gas in the future enableing Jamaica to transition to the so-called Hydrogen Economy in the future with the Hydrogen Gas obtained from the electrolysis of Seawater to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen, with Salt and other minerals as byproducts
  • Employment and training for local Jamaican Power, Mechanical and Generator Engineer in Gas Turbine Generator technology, a boost to Jamaican Economy in much the same way that the Liberalization of the Telecommunications Sector did in 2000

But what of the practical benefits of LNG to motorists? And will Digicel throw their hat into the Energy Sector Ring now that Energy License are available as speculated in my article Digicel Jamaica’s Alternative Energy Future – Increased Electricity Bills and Energy Sector Opportunities collide?

Another article, another time….

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.