Wind power in Jamaica: Wigton Wind Farm commissioned

A 24 megawatt expansion of the Wigton WindFarm, Wigton III, was yesterday officially commissioned into operation, continuing transmissions to the national grid.

The farm is expected to generate 63,072 megawatt hours annually with its new facility consisting of twelve 2 megawatt wind turbines, a 9.6km transmission line, and a new substation constructed by the Spanish firm Gamesa.

The plant is expected to reduce the national oil consumption by 37,100 barrels per year, which can save the country more than JA$230 million annually, adding to the more than JA$3 billion saved by the country in the past 11 years through the operations of Wigton I and Wigton II, commissioned in 2004 and 2010, respectively.

Guest speaker Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his address, made mention of the talks on oil edge and deduced that diversification was the key going forward, a move that the wind farm ensures.




“… the best edge [oil edge] is diversification, having different streams of fuel and energy sources in the mix, and what this [wind farm] is doing is ensuring diversification … , ” said Holness.

With a plan to upgrade the country’s net generation from renewables to the electric distribution grid to 30 per cent by 2030, Holness is challenging a further increase, acknowledging, however, that not all renewables can be made part of the base generation.

“We should have more. In fact, what we should be saying is that the growth that we expect in the economy will generate growth in energy demand, in electricity demand, and that growth in electricity demand must be met by renewables.”

He admitted that in areas affecting the nation’s growth, energy is a binding constraint, and if the country does nothing, according to the International Monetary Fund’s calculations, the country will only grow 1 to 1.5 per cent yearly.

“The strategy of the Government is to loosen, if not remove, the binding constraints … one of the problems is energy and the cost of energy, and I think that the Government, plus the administration, has put in place the policies and the strategies and the technologies to begin to remove that constraint, and that is what this commissioning represents.”

According to Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley, Wigton is one of three entities alongside WRB Content Solar and BMR energy, growing the renewable energy sector. The prime minister has called for a further expansion of Wigton Farm by 2018-2019.