Jamaica News: Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the Government is committed to transitioning away from fuels that are not environmentally-friendly to using more renewable sources.
She noted that the objective is to preserve the environment while lowering the country’s oil bill.
Mrs. Williams, who was speaking during a tour of the Wigton Wind Farm in Rose Hill, Manchester, on Friday (December 13), said that for many years, Jamaica has relied on high-sulphur diesel oils to generate electricity, which is bad for the environment, expensive, has to be imported, and is subject to price volatility.
“It is important that we transition away from that fuel to generate electricity to using what God has given us… wind, sun and water and even waste,” she noted.
The Minister said that Wigton has a key role to play in enabling Jamaica to achieve its targets for incorporating renewable sources in the local energy mix.
The Government has set a target of 30 per cent of renewables for electricity generation by 2030, and by 2020, is expected to generate 18 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Wigton, which was started in 2004, has been expanded over time, and the facility now generates enough electricity to serve 81,000 homes across Jamaica.
The plant’s productivity is expected to continue to grow and the operators of the wind farm are now exploring solar as well as hydro and waste-to-energy alternatives.
The Minister’s tour of Wigton was to see, firsthand, how farmers are being accommodated on the lands surrounding the wind farm to grow crops such as sweet and Irish potatoes and carrot, and raise cattle.
She also visited the training facility, which offers internationally certified courses in photovoltaics, energy conservation, solar technology and more.
Minister Williams used the opportunity to encourage the farmers to look at investing in renewable energy operations such as Wigton.
“You are here, you are seeing the growth and it’s here to stay. It can only get better, as we require more and more renewables to generate electricity for the country,” she said.
Meanwhile, General Manager of Wigton Wind Farm, Earl Barrett, said that the training lab offers City and Guilds-certified courses to students from the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Technology (UTech), Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
Come January, the courses will have National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) certification.
“We are extremely proud that we are able to offer training that is held to the highest standards in the world. We have the backing and assurance of City and Guilds as well as the HEART Trust/NTA. We have trained their lecturers to offer courses and they also send students here to be trained,” he noted.
The courses are done over a five-day period, with 24 students accommodated at a time, some from as far away as Europe.
Wigton also supports the local community through adoption of the basic school located nearby.
Source: JIS News