Category: Case Study

The JPS has said its protection system failed on Saturday after a problem at the Hunt’s Bay power station which triggered an all-island blackout.

The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) says it’s acquiring the services of an independent consultant to evaluate its protection system in the wake of last Saturday’s islandwide blackout.

The disclosure was made by the company’s president and Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Tomblin, during a meeting with energy minister, Andrew Wheatley, yesterday.

The CEO provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the outage, noting that the JPS is already taking several steps to address human error potential and system protection concerns.

Tomblin said the JPS believes an independent protection and system expert can help to evaluate the company’s total protection scheme and make recommendations for operation enhancements, and the level of investment required to meet reliability expectations.

The JPS team also informed that the enhanced protection system, known as ‘Switch on to fault,’ has been restored, while the Company continues to evaluate whether this enhanced system would have prevented Saturday’s outage.

 

IN PHOTO: Kelly Tomblin

The JPS has also committed to involve the energy minister’s team in future grid investment decisions.

Two JPS employees have been suspended pending the outcome of the probe.

The JPS is expected to give a full report on the outage to the Office of Utilities Regulations on September 27.

 

gleaner

KHAN… what we want is for them to own, as much as possible, what has to be done in each sector

 

From the “historical momentum in favour of brown industries” – those overly dependent on fossil fuels – to “bias in the political system towards short-run and against long-run perspectives”, the deck appears stacked against Jamaica’s efforts towards a green economy.

These factors, according to the recently published Green Economy Scoping Study, in addition to others, include IMF prescriptions that preclude Government providing tax incentives to encourage greening.

Still, the study – done with United Nations Environment Programme and European Union support – notes that in as much as these factors are barriers, they are also justification for the transformation of the economy into one typified by efficient resource management, a low-carbon footprint, and which is socially inclusive.

And it cites a variety of opportunities that can be pursued across key sectors – agriculture, construction, energy, tourism, and water – from the private sector’s demonstrated leadership in some fields to existing policies and programmes.

Elizabeth Emanuel, one of the study’s authors, said the Vision 2030 Jamaica, for which she is programme director, is one such.

“One of the benefits Jamaica has in advancing to a green economy, compared to other states, is that our own national development plan had the foresight to include the green economy as a pathway to prosperity. That plan speaks to the green economy and what a green economy would look like for Jamaica,” she told The Gleaner.

Possibility Indicators

And there are some good indicators of what’s possible, Emanuel added, noting that there have been, for example, advances in the diversification of the island’s energy mix.

“We also have a society that is more aware, companies that are thinking and talking green, and all of these are creating the demand for a green economy,” she noted.

According to Emanuel, there is no question of the need to pursue the transition – whatever the constraints.

“The green economy is not just about environmental protection, but it is our planet, our people, our economy and how we marry those three to create sustainable solutions that will advance the prosperity of our land of wood and water,” she said.

Eleanor Jones, head of Environmental Solutions Limited, agreed.

“When it comes to what we need, we need to look at our resources management because that is also a part of it … . But you can’t just wave a magic wand. It has to be a structured approach with legislation and incentive … ,” she said.

“We like to talk about the IMF putting in all these strictures, and they have, and you have to watch your budget. But not everything has to cost a lot of money… . We have to encourage our suppliers to retool and encourage our consumers to manage their resources,” Jones added.

Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said the coming months should see a re-engagement of key actors towards the green economy.

“The various sectors were consulted in the preparation stage. We now need to re-engage with these sectors at the highest levels because there have been a number of changes,” he said.

“What we want is for them to own, as much as possible, what has to be done in each sector. We expect that they will go through the list of recommendations that are there and see which ones are to be done in the short to medium term, so they can embrace those and seek to work them into their respective strategic plans. That is the approach we will take,” he added.

Among the recommendations from the study are:

• Sustainable land management and water management systems for agriculture;

• Enforce the new building code, as well as adopt codes and standards that mandate green construction practices for the construction sector; and

• Promote and incentivise renewable energy use and water use reduction, as well as planning for climate change for the tourism sector.

There is, too, the recommendation to develop more extensive sewage recycling, as well as reduce energy cost and diversify sources for the water and sewerage sector.

pwr.gleaner@gmail.com

 

The Gleaner

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Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft [Image source: On Innovation.com, via Flickr]

 

On the opening day of the COP21 global climate change meeting in Paris, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have announced they have joined together with other private investors to help fight climate change by investing in renewable energy. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will provide financial support to companies that take clean energy innovations out of the laboratory and commercialize them, the main idea being to accelerate progress on clean energy development.

“The world is going to be using 50 percent more energy by mid-century than it does today” said Mr Gates on his gatesnotes blog. “That should be good news, especially for the world’s poorest, because right now more than 1 billion people live without access to basic energy services. Affordable and reliable energy makes it easier for them to grow more food, run schools and hospitals and businesses, have refrigerators at home, and take advantage of all the things that make up modern life. Low- and middle-income countries need energy to develop their economies and help more people escape poverty. But the world’s growing demand for energy is also a big problem, because most of that energy comes from hydrocarbons, which emit greenhouse gases and drive climate change. So we need to move to sources of energy that are affordable and reliable, and don’t produce any carbon.”

Mr Gates added that although current renewable energy technologies, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future, given the scale of the challenge, the world needs to be exploring many different paths, and that means it also needs to invent new approaches. These energy breakthroughs will be made by private companies, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund.

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Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook [Image source: Jason McELweenie, Flickr]

 

Ways in which to promote clean energy innovation

Earlier in the year, Mr Gates set out on his blog three important ways in which to promote clean energy innovation – incentives, markets and treating poorer countries fairly.

The first of these involves governments drastically increasing their funding for research on clean energy solutions. At present, only a few billion dollars are spent per year on researching early-stage ideas for zero-carbon energy, when really, the world should be spending two to three times as much. Gates said that governments should be doing this for the public good and that the benefits of doing so are “far greater than the amount that the inventor can capture.” Expanded government support for energy research will also lead to more private investment. Gates has invested in companies developing new batteries and other energy storage solutions and also companies developing advances in solar power technology. However, governments need to act quickly on this because these energy transitions are time-intensive.

 

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Windmill Sunset [Image source: Max and Dee Bernt, Flickr]

 

The second important step is to ensure that energy prices reflect the full impact of emitting carbon. At present, the market does not factor in ‘negative externalities’ – the costs to health and the damage to the environment caused by greenhouse gas emissions. If these costs are reflected in the price, renewable energy will become more competitive with fossil fuels and that in turn will attract more investors to the market. Governments should support this process by creating incentives to develop new solutions while also ensuring certainty in the market so that energy companies can plan ahead and enact the transition to zero-carbon energy.

The third step is to recognize that, at this late stage when climate change is already starting to have disastrous effects on the world, it will continue to hit the poorest people in the world hardest. This means that those countries that have done most to create this problem should spend the most to invest in mitigation and help poorer countries to adapt. The Gates Foundation is now doing this by helping small farmers in poorer countries to adjust to hotter and more unpredictable weather by increasing productivity.

The Breakthrough Coalition

The Breakthrough Coalition consists of some of the world’s top investors who have joined together in the understanding that technology will help to solve the world’s current energy issues, particularly the urgent issue of climate change. This requires an aggressive and urgent global program of zero-emission energy innovation based on a model of public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors. It will involve large funding commitments with a key role being played by governments, with aggressive increases in funding for basic and applied energy research. Current levels of government funding are insufficient.

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[Image source: CheapFullCoverageAutoInsurance.com]

The coalition is focused on the creation of a network of private capital intended to drive forward the transition to an advanced energy future. It is doing this by concentrating on providing investment for early stage companies, involving early investment through seed, angel and Series A investments, with commercial capital expected to take over in the later stages once the investments are de-risked. It will invest in a number of sectors, including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industry, agriculture and energy efficiency. The aim is to boost the development of novel technologies and innovations that make existing technologies more efficient, scalable or help to reduce costs. Given that most of these innovations will come through government research pipelines, the coalition has decided to focus its investments on countries participating in the Mission Innovation international initiative.

Mission Innovation

Mission Innovation was also launched on the opening day of COP21. It consists of a commitment by20 countries to invest in clean energy research and its aim is to “reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable.” The initiative will seek to double government funding for clean energy innovation in each of its member states

The Breakthrough Coalition consists of:

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft; Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, and Dr Priscilla Chan; Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries (India); John Arnold, co-chair of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com; Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon; HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alwaleed Philanthropies, Saudi Arabia; Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group; Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates; Aliko Dangote, Founder and Chief Executive, Dangote Group, Nigeria; John Doerr, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, United States; Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn and Partner, Greylock, United States; Chris Hohn, Founder, The Children’s Investment Fund, UK; Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures, United States; Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group, China; Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), South Africa; Xavier Niel, Founder, Iliad Group, France; Hasso Plattner, Co-founder and Chairman, SAP, Germany; Julian Robertson, Founder and Chairman, Tiger Management, United States; Neil Shen, Founding Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital China, China; Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons, Co-founders, Prelude Ventures, United States; Masayoshi Son, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group Corp., Japan; George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management LLC, United States; Tom Steyr, Businessman, Philanthropist, and President, NextGen Climate, United States, Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, India; Meg Whitman, CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, United States; Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi Co-founder and CEO, SOHO China, Chairman, SOHO China; and finally, the University of California (UCLA).

The Mission Innovation initiative consists of:

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

 

Interesting Engineering

University of Technology Jamaica (UTech) File Photo

 

THE findings of a University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech)-led research project focusing on the sustainable production of hydrogen as a fuel for domestic cooking will form the basis of presentations and discussions at an International Hydrogen Conference and Exhibition being hosted by UTech at its Papine campus, November 3 – 4, 2015. The conference is first of its kind in the Caribbean region.

In 2012, UTech, along with research partners from Brunel University, United Kingdom; University of the West Indies; Bureau of Standards Jamaica; and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining began a research project on ‘The Application of Solar-Powered Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Electrolysers for the Sustainable Production of Hydrogen Gas as Fuel for Domestic Cooking’. The project is co-funded by the European Union under the ACP Caribbean & Pacific Research Programme for Sustainable Development.

Dr Ruth Potopsingh, Associate Vice- President, Caribbean Sustainable Energy & Innovation Institute in the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship at UTech, and coordinator of the conference, explains that the issue of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source is particularly relevant to Jamaica at this time.

“The use of hydrogen, whether for cooking at the household or commercial level, clean transportation fuel or utility scale applications, such as power to gas, are options which the Caribbean region needs to further examine,” she said.

Conference presentations by local and international research experts will highlight global trends in hydrogen as a key enabling pathway for renewable energy applications. Thematic areas to be examined include hydrogen from renewable resources, environmental issues and climate change, hydrogen as a transportation fuel, the future of hydrogen technology, hydrogen storage systems, education and public awareness for using hydrogen as a domestic fuel, and case studies on successful hydrogen projects.

Keynote speakers will be:

* Phillip Paulwell, minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining (MSTEM)

* Paola Amadei, ambassador, head of delegation of the European Union in Jamaica

* Prof Maria Kolokotroni, Professor / theme leader for Resource Efficient Future Cities at Brunel University

* Dr Andrei Tchouvelev, Chairman of ISO’s primary technical committee on hydrogen technologies based in Canada.

Other presenters include the project research team led by Dr Earle Wilson, lecturer, School of Engineering, UTech; Dr Zahir Dehouche, Brunel University; Dr Kurt Edward, UWI; Omar Alcock, MSTEM; and Hunstan Hunter, Bureau of Standards, Jamaica. Presentations will also be delivered by representatives from industry and the European Union ACP Research Programme for Sustainable Development.

The international hydrogen conference will also include an exhibition featuring faculty and student research as well as innovations and service providers from the local energy sector. It will be free and open to the public, but participants are being asked to register owing to limited capacity. The public exhibition opens to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on each day. Further information is available at http://www.solarhydrogen.utechsapna.com or via email CSEII@Utech.edu.jm.

 

The Observer

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries were rated in the lower half of a survey of 26 countries that examined their ability to foster low carbon energy growth.

Jamaica at number 16 topped the eight CARICOM countries included in the survey, undertaken by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The other CARICOM countries in order of rankings were Belize, Barbados, Bahamas, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname.

According to the IDB, the top countries were headed by Brazil followed by Nicaragua and Panama.

Countries were ranked based on four parameters: enabling framework, clean energy investments and low-carbon financing, low-carbon business and clean energy value chains, and greenhouse gas- management activities.

The IDB said that while Latin America and the Caribbean boast extraordinary renewable energy resources, the local clean energy sector is just beginning to gain traction, last year attracting less than five per cent of an estimated US$280 billion invested worldwide.

“For clean energy entrepreneurs, developers, and manufacturers, massive opportunities appear to lie ahead – if they can identify them. Similarly, government leaders could trigger a flood of new clean energy investment – if they can craft appropriate policy frameworks,” the IDB said.

Climatescope release

It said in order to bridge these gaps, the MIF in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance created the Climatescope, the first annual report, index, and interactive web tool focused on the clean energy market in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It said Climatescope will be released on Tuesday during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The Climatescope uses 30 indicators to measure the ability of each country to attract capital to build a greener economy, aggregated into scores from zero to five, with five representing the best investing environment. The highest ranked country was Brazil, but it only scored 2.6, indicating ample opportunity for improving conditions to attract more capital for low-carbon and renewable energy capacity.

“Climatescope is much more than a report,” said Nancy Lee, MIF’s general manager.

“It is an interactive and dynamic tool with rich data and in-depth country profiles that allow users to change the weights of each parameter to suit their needs. We hope that the Climatescope’s unique combination of information on finance, policy, and market opportunities will have real benefits for facilitating green investment in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she said.

Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said that over the past three years equipment prices have dropped to the point where unsubsidised clean energy is on the verge of being competitive with fossil fuels.

“For the moment, however, the sector still needs intelligent support mechanisms, and it certainly needs a raft of unhelpful barriers to be swept away,” Liebreich said.

“What Climatescope does is measure progress on these fronts on a very granular level, measure by measure, country by country. It is the first time anyone has attempted to do this, and we think it will prove of enormous value as Latin American and Caribbean countries strive to attract funds to accelerate their green growth trajectories. We commend MIF and the IDB for backing this initiative,” Liebreich added.

The report documented US$90 billion of cumulative clean energy investment in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2006 and 2011, with Brazil attracting close to 80 per cent of the total funds committed.

It said that renewable energy capacity can be installed in some parts of the region without the need for subsidies due to a combination of falling clean energy technology prices, high electricity prices and rising electricity demand.

– CMC

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120620/business/business8.html

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