Energy efficiency and regulation priorities for Jamaica


James Robertson,
Jamaica’s Minister of
Mining and Energy
Kingston, Jamaica — (METERING.COM) — January 14, 2010 – Energy conservation and efficiency and the development of a comprehensive governance and regulatory framework are among the key priorities for the future of Jamaica’s energy sector, according to the country’s new energy policy document.

The document, which was tabled in parliament just before Christmas by Jamaica’s minister of mining and energy, James Robertson, sets out a national energy policy to 2030 aimed at ensuring long term sustainability and security of supply, supported by informed public behavior on energy issues and an appropriate policy, regulatory and institutional framework.

The policy, an update of an earlier policy green paper for the period 2006-2020 that had been tabled but never debated, focuses on seven key areas. In addition to those above the others include modernizing the country’s energy infrastructure, development of renewable energy sources such as solar and hydro, enabling government ministries, departments and agencies to be models for the rest of society in terms of energy management, and eco-efficiency in industries.

Jamaica’s economy is characterized by high energy intensity and low efficiency and is almost completely dependent on imported oil. Further, while approximately 90 percent of households have access to electricity, there are high levels of both technical and non technical losses at approximately 23 percent and 12 percent respectively.

With GDP growth projected at 3 percent per annum to 2014 and 5 percent per annum thereafter, effective energy efficiency improvement and conservation and fuel diversification are both cost effective, with potential savings projected at $0.84 billion by 2015 and over $2.2 billion by 2020, the policy document states.

Energy conservation and efficiency will be achieved through a comprehensive and well coordinated continuous public education program, the introduction of incentives and greater availability of energy saving products and devices as well as the adoption of new and emerging energy technologies and improvements in energy infrastructure.

Further, private sector firms and industry will be equipped to implement innovative energy management programs, using clean, energy efficient technologies and institutionalizing energy conservation practices.

On the regulatory front policy inconsistencies will be removed and a coherent policy and regulatory framework provided to facilitate competition in the energy supply system, and to provide integrated monitoring and enforcement of regulations.

System losses will be reduced through the introduction of stiff penalties for power theft and enhanced enforcement powers for the regulatory agencies.

“Energy is the critical issue of our time,” said minister Robertson. “This policy must now be brought to life by specific strategies, programs and actions, underpinned by a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework that will address areas such as finding new sources of energy, creating new financial incentives, promoting energy conservation, creating green buildings and so on.”