Wigton wind farm saves hard currency for Jamaica

Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding says the Wigton wind farm in Manchester will be providing hard currency savings for the country, while earning from the sale of carbon credits overseas.

“It will save us almost 60,000 barrels of oil imports per year, at a value of over US$5 million,” the Prime Minister pointed out, adding that together, Phases One and Two at the farm have the capacity to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of almost 52,000 households.

Mr. Golding was speaking at the official commissioning of the US$47.5 million expanded Wigton wind farm at Rose Hill, in Manchester, on March 2.

“While it is 3 per cent of our total requirement, it is an important 3 per cent. It demonstrates what can be done if we can move it even further, and we want to move it further. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) will be doing, over the next 18 months, studies on 20 additional sites, where the potential exist to harness enough wind energy to sustain wind turbines. We want to continue with wind power technology facilities to extend and expand the benefits that Wigton is providing,” the Prime Minister emphasised.

Mr. Golding said that exploration work on hydro facilities is complete for three parishes, and the technical data is now awaiting private investment to develop them. He told the audience that part of the national energy policy is to take renewable energy from the current 7 to 8 per cent to some 20 per cent by 2030.

That date is significant, as Vision 2030 Jamaica is the country’s first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to achieve developed country status by 2030. It is based on a comprehensive vision: “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business."

The Prime Minister said that expansion in renewable energy would not only come from wind power, it would also come from solar power, hydro, and a number of possibilities. “We have been doing studies to determine the feasibility of a solar power farm, primarily in Portmore, and the feasibility is nearing completion. It is a small project, but we want to see if it is workable, and if it is workable, to see how we can expand it,” he added.

Mr. Golding noted that Wigton wind farm earns about US$230,000 a year from the sale of carbon credits. “Because it is clean energy, we have an agreement with Holland, where we sell them the carbon credits, with this expansion. We will be able to produce 85,000 tonnes of carbon emission, and that ought to be able to bring us well over US$400,000 a year, so it brings value,” he said.

Wigton Phase One sells an annual average of 52 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity to the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPSCo), and it is estimated that Wigton Phase Two will also sell 47.3 GWh to the company.