Ground Broken for U$60m solar-powered plant in Westmoreland

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley (second left) is joined by (from left) Lionel Bony (left), director general Neoen Mexico; Angella Rainford, one of the directors of Eight Rivers; Jean-Michel Despax, the ambassador of France in Jamaica; and Dr Roman Rocke, a representative of Mitglied des Vorstandes, during the ground-breaking ceremony for the US$60-million 37-megawatt solar-powered plant in Paradise Park, Westmoreland, yesterday. (Photo: Philp Lemonte) 

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley (second left) is joined by (from left) Lionel Bony (left), director general Neoen Mexico; Angella Rainford, one of the directors of Eight Rivers; Jean-Michel Despax, the ambassador of France in Jamaica; and Dr Roman Rocke, a representative of Mitglied des Vorstandes, during the ground-breaking ceremony for the US$60-million 37-megawatt solar-powered plant in Paradise Park, Westmoreland, yesterday. (Photo: Philp Lemonte) 

PARADISE PARK, Westmoreland — Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley says the Eight Rivers Energy Company's US$60-million 37-megawatt solar-powered plant, for which ground was broken yesterday, will push Jamaica's energy diversification efforts.

Speaking yesterday at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Latin American and Caribbean region's largest solar-powered plant system, Dr Wheatley noted that with Eight Rivers selling energy at 8.53 US cents per kilowatt hour to the Jamaica Public Service, it augurs well for customers.

“Where we are, ladies and gentlemen, we are on the right trajectory to ensure that we not only supply residential customers, but the productive sector as well [with] affordable energy. It is what is going to actually fuel growth. Energy fuels growth and, as a ministry, we have a responsibility to ensure that we provide the energy sector with not only clean energy, but affordable energy,” the energy minister said.

“And so, this US 8.53 cents per kilowatt hour is the lowest in the region,” Wheatley continued.

The minister went even further to say he anticipates that the price will be less than 8.53 US cents per kilowatt hour later on.

“I am sure once you (Eight Rivers) have completed the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and we go back to the market with some requests for proposals, we anticipate even lower prices again. Not only because we are setting a trend, but we know that the technology will afford us to be able to supply cheaper electricity to the consumers, and that is what we are all about. We are about providing cheap and affordable energy,” he declared.

Meanwhile, Angella Rainford, one of the directors of Eight Rivers Energy Company, outlined that the solar-powered plant, jointly sponsored by a French and a German company, will generate savings in the economy.