US-based ESA Renewables has been hired to build a 24MW project in Paradise Park, Jamaica for Caribbean Energies Group. ESA Renewables, an alternative energy EPC group, should begin construction on the project for Caribbean Energies Group, a US- and Jamaica-based group seeking to be an independent power producer.

ESA has agreed to design, construct, commission, monitor and provide operations and maintenance services for the PV project, and will also assist in securing all permits and other legal requirements for the system as well as conduct all required assessments and related studies for the system as needed.CEG will provide the financing, the array site and the materials for the project, which is expected to be built on 100 acres in Paradise Park. The system will produce over 33 million kWh annually, which is equivalent to saving over 17 million kg of CO2 annually.

In addition, Jamaica’s first renewables policy draft has been released. Jamaica’s first renewable-energy policy, which mandates that 20% of the country’s electricity must come from clean sources by 2030, should be completed this year. “The policy is well written. I think it plays a role in moving the economy toward the goals that it articulates,” says Leo Williams, executive director of Williams & Associates Investments, an advisory firm in the capital, Kingston.

Renewables make up 9% of the energy mix in Jamaica. They include two wind farms totalling 23.7MW; eight hydro plants totalling 23MW; and projects for generating biogas from animal waste, sugar-cane bagasse and wood.

Projects in the pipeline include two energy-from-waste plants totalling 65MW and biodiesel production.

Jamaica imports the fossil fuels that provide the other 91% of its electricity, and as much as 87% of the foreign exchange it earns goes into buying oil.

Photograph: Jamaica Information Service. Exerpts from Recharge News