Wigton Wind Farm expansion project in Jamaica

The wind energy project will include the installation of nine new two-megawatt wind turbines that will generate 18 megawatts of power, increasing the total amount of wind power produced by Wigton to 38.7 megawatts. The power will be sold to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) for domestic use.

In addition, plant operating facilities will be improved and a resource room for educational and technical information exchange established.

The expansion will mean approximately 55 gigawatt hours of energy, enough to power about 24,000 homes. It will also result in saving of about 32,400 barrels of oil valued at US$2.3 million, and in so doing, avoid 45,954 tonnes of carbon emissions, as wind energy is cleaner than energy derived from oil.

The project advances the new energy thrust by the Government and the Ministry of Energy and Mining, as stated in the National Energy Policy.

According to Robertson, "a cornerstone of this policy is diversifying our energy base. We will find new ways to power our economy and to reduce the amount of energy we use. We will explore indigenous sources of energy and clean technologies, thereby injecting life into research institutions and generating new, green jobs at a time when new jobs are so sorely needed."

He noted further that "this policy will also enable us to reduce pollution and thereby protect the health of all Jamaicans as they go about their daily business. It will demonstrate that Jamaica is a responsible global citizen as we minimise our emissions of greenhouse gases, and reduce our carbon footprint."

The expansion of the Wigton Wind Farm will increase Jamaica’s energy output from renewable sources and help the country to meet its target of 11 per cent of energy needs from renewable sources by 2010. At present, only 5 per cent of Jamaica’s energy comes from renewable sources.

Wigton Wind Farm is a subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), which is an agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mining. Wigton was incorporated in 2000 to develop wind farms and similar renewable energy systems to harness energy for generation of electricity for commercial and domestic use.

Wigton has been supplying wind generated energy to the JPS grid and at Munro College, in St. Elizabeth for some time. The expansion will add to this effort.

The project will be built on a turnkey basis by Vestas Eolica of Spain with local input in engineering, studies and construction. Wigton has said that commissioning of the plant is scheduled for July 2010 and the project is 100 per cent financed from the PetroCaribe Development Fund.