Ja eyeing US$2.8-b investments in energy sector by 2037, says Vaz

The Government is anticipating US$2.8 billion in investments in the energy sector by 2037 to modernise the country’s electricity infrastructure while diversifying fuel sources and promoting conservation.

Updating Parliament yesterday on the work of the Generation Procurement Entity (GPE), to which Cabinet appointed seven members in April 2017, Minister of Science, Technology and Energy Daryl Vaz said the GPE is receiving assistance with procurement from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to fulfil its mandate of managing the replacement of existing electricity generation capacity and the procurement of new capacity.

“The review of unsolicited proposals and Request for Proposals (RFPs) to the market for new generation must be accorded urgent priority by the GPE. We have recruited a chief technical expert to support the GPE and we expect onboarding by July 1, 2021. The GPE has been given the charge to get moving. We want to see a significant increase in our generation capacity and our renewable energy share,” he told the House of Representatives in his 2021/22 sectoral presentation.

The increase in generation capacity is hinged on an electricity road map for 2018-2037, which includes 32 per cent of generation and [net load] in 2030, to be met with renewable mix and 49 per cent of generation by 2037. Last year the renewables share of the sector increased by one per cent.

Vaz further advised that now that the GPE was settled the country can expect requests for proposal within another six months.

At the same time, he noted that the Ministry of Finance has concluded its review of the fiscal regime to develop the e-mobility structure and will now seek input from his ministry.

“Given the importance of e-mobility to the economy, I am confident that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service will propose an effective fiscal regime,” he said.

Vaz argued that as manufacturers discontinue the production of fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, Jamaica must ensure that it is not left behind.

“We cannot become the dumping ground of the world for fossil fuel vehicles that will no longer be allowed in other jurisdictions,” he argued.

He advised that the electric vehicle council had met on May 14 and approved the e-mobility strategic framework. A working group was also established to oversee the implementation of the policy for this fiscal year. The strategic framework is to include a fiscal regime, which Cabinet will be asked to consider.

Additionally, the Office of Utilities Regulation will hold public consultations to examine proposals on a regulatory framework to facilitate the penetration of electric vehicles, the minister said.

“This is a big deal. If we can achieve 12 to 16 per cent, conservatively, e-mobility of our private and public fleet, the savings to Jamaica will be equal to two per cent of GDP[gross domestic product, according to the IDB,” he said.

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