The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said it would consider financing projects for waste to energy in Jamaica, but cautioned that the cost of doing so would have to be around US$0.12 per kilowatt hour for it to make sense to consumers.
“We could finance waste to energy,” but “at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to the cost. I think that’s a key component which I don’t know if it has been fully analysed,” said lead investment officer at the IDB, Stefan Wright.
He said that if solar energy was currently being produced at US$0.12/kWh,”it makes no sense financing waste-to-energy at US$0.20/kWh because JPS [Jamaica Public Service Company] won’t buy that.”
Renewable energy is a focus of the Inter-American Investment Corporation, the private-sector arm of the IDB which last year reorganised three of its four private-sector windows specifically to be more strategic, align with the IDB’s country strategy and become more effective in terms of how the Bank deploys private sector resources, Wright told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Tuesday.
“We are working with entities in Jamaica now to finance renewable energy projects,” said Wright, noting that Jamaica has done a good job in bringing more renewable energy on the grid and reducing the 90 per cent oil bill, “and we are very much interested in partnering with those entities who want financing”.
Referring to Jamaica’s main garbage-disposal sites, including the Riverton dump in Kingston, Wright said it would be good to be able to use those resources in a more environmentally friendly way, “but at the end of the day it must make sense for consumers”.
He also pointed to the Government’s efforts, announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness with the formation of an enterprise team in October last year, to manage the State’s waste-to-energy programme, contracting out of solid-waste management and collection and divestment of the Riverton City landfill.
At that time, Holness was quoted as saying that the Government had received more than 30 expressions of interests to either bid on the waste-to-energy programme or to collect solid waste or both.
“We stand ready to finance projects which come out of that,” said the investment officer, noting that after the tender process is completed, entities wishing to invest in the facility would seek financing from the IDB to make the business a reality.
However, he pointed out that one of the key requirements is that such entities engaging in such energy supply programmes must obtain power purchase agreements from the JPS.
“So we are certainly willing to help to participate in that,” he said. “We will finance any sustainable project which is helping to generate economic growth,” he added, noting that the IDB was offering loans between US$5 million and US$200 million per project, “and we don’t have any country limits now in terms of what we can finance”.
Wright said “we are looking at a number of projects and renewable energy and waste energy is something that we would certainly consider.”
General manager for the IDB’s Caribbean Country Department, Therese Turner-Jones, who also participated in the forum, said she has been to a series of renewable-energy conferences where private-sector interests offer various solutions, “and they look at the Caribbean as being ripe for investment because we’ve done so little”.
Comparing Jamaica with Hawaii, where the goal is 100 per cent renewables, Turner-Jones, noted that the US state is “almost there”.
“So it’s possible (for Jamaica) to do it. The technology exists,” she added.
JPS, which controls power distribution, is now reporting that renewables should account for around 12 per cent of its electricity production this year. Jamaica is aiming for a mix of 30 per cent by 2030.
A new energy-saving project costing US$30 million ($3.8 billion) will seek to reduce traffic jams in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) by synchronising 140 stop lights through a fibre-optic ring, while also cutting energy consumption at scores of government buildings.
The plan requires funding approval from donor agencies Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency. Both are considering loans of up to US$15 million each to a project that has Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica acting as the executing agency.
The project, dubbed ‘Jamaica Energy Management and Efficiency Programme’, involves three components: it aims to fast-track Government’s National Energy Conservation and Efficiency Policy 2010-2030, target a 70 per cent reduction in energy “intensity”, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent, said the IDB.
The traffic component aims to reduce the idle time that cars run on the road, which would reduce gas consumption. It would achieve this by implementing a more robust urban traffic management system – UTMS – which involves linking into the fibre-optic ring already developed by telecoms providers.
The IDB revealed the project late August and released documents on the project profile and environmental analysis. Both documents contain figures which vary slightly when breaking down each component, but the objectives remain consistent.
Regarding the road network, the government will upgrade or implement technologies for nine road segments, most of which are located in Kingston and one in Spanish Town.
The IDB, utilising data from the National Works Agency (NWA), indicated that traffic growth along some of the KMA’s key corridors has increased 39-50 per cent over a decade, 2005-2015, without any associated improvements in road or intersection capacity.
Additionally, the absence of a complete UTMS to sync the operation of 140 traffic lights, with average spacing of 300 metres in between, remains a key factor causing congestion in the KMA.
“Most of the population commutes within urban centres, resulting in significant amount of congestion, lost time and wasted gasolene during idling or stalled traffic, especially the capital city Kingston,” stated the IDB.
Component I of the project amounts to US$24 million to finance energy efficiency and energy-conservation measures in government facilities, which could span 75 entities, with focus on educational and health facilities. Component II, at US$2.8 million, involves the financing of fuel efficiency in the transport sector. Component III, at US$1.8 million, will finance institutional strengthening for energy planning by developing information systems and training.
In 2015, public-sector facilities consumed some 7.4 per cent of all electricity generated in Jamaica, or approximately 393 gigawatt hours, costing the GOJ around US$36 million in oil imports, or an estimated US$102 million in electricity bills, the IDB said. Of this figure, roughly 22 per cent related to education and health facilities.
THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched ‘Rise Up’, a free multimedia tool for primary and secondary schools in Latin America and the Caribbean to empower students, parents and teachers to address climate change and improve their quality of life through creative, viable and long-term solutions.
“The solution to climate change is very complex. So we created an innovative knowledge tool in a multimedia format, to address part of the problem,” said Emma Näslund-Hadley, project co-ordinator and lead specialist in the Education Division of the IDB.
Rise Up encourages teachers and students to be part of the solution. Instead of teaching science in a traditional way, Rise Up transforms learning at both school and home to harness the potential of youth and adults to mitigate and reverse climate change.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Spain), if we continue at this pace, the “excessive” consumption of natural resources would force humanity to have 1.6 planets to meet demand globally.
To help counter climate change, Rise Up provides instructional videos, lesson plans, video games and a green kit in English and Spanish at no cost on the initiative’s website.
Rise Up is part of the efforts of the IDB and the Inter-American Investment Corporation to combat the effects of climate change facing the region. Last year, the IDB Group announced the goal of increasing to 30 per cent the volume of loan approvals for operations related to climate change by the end of 2020.
ENERGY Minister Phillip Paulwell
ENERGY Minister Phillip Paulwell is seeking legal advice from the solicitor general with a view to taking Contractor General Dirk Harrison to court over his report on the bidding process to implement the 381-megawatt energy project, according to a well-placed source.
Consultations, the newspaper was informed, are already underway between the solicitor general and the embattled minister, who is fighting to clear not only his name, but to repair any reputational damage that occurred to the country with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reversing its position to support the 381MW project as a result of the contractor general’s report.
The Jamaica Observer was, however, unable to reach Paulwell last night for a comment.
The basis on which the minister can seek judicial review of the contractor general report lies in the legal response of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to the Office of the Contractor General’s special investigation report, the source said.
The OUR legal response, posted on its website, contends that the OCG erred in using the Government of Jamaica guidelines for consultancy tenders during its probe, whereas it should have used guidelines for Works Tenders. This, the source contends, is a serious error in law.
The OUR legal response further contends that the OUR conducted two distinctly different processes: an informal exploratory process in which expressions of interest were received, followed by a formal legal tender.
The source said that Energy World International (EWl), the company that eventually emerged as the preferred bidder to undertake the project, received Cabinet approval to be included after the deadline of the informal preliminary process but well before the commencement of the formal tender.
The sources said these two facts provided the foundation to apply for judicial review.
The project is to be built with a mix of EWI equity and multilateral funding. The imprimatur of the IDB is key to receiving the go-ahead for that funding.
It was Harrison’s first major report since assuming office in 2013. The report was issued on the same day that he issued the long-awaited Richard Azan report. But this isn’t the first time in recent years that a Government minister will be taking the OCG to court.
Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies last year sought leave for judicial review of a decision by the contractor general to monitor an oversight body set up by the minister to advise on the award of contracts to a public body.
The minister, however, withdrew the challenge.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said Monday it had been selected by Canada as a key partner in its “fast-start” commitment to support climate-change mitigation and adaptation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
It will be managed by the IDB and finance private-sector climate-mitigation and adaptation projects requiring concessional financing to become viable.
“The private sector is a key player in helping countries address climate change. The Canadian Climate Fund will go a long way in moving the needle on innovation and helping reduce the gap in financing for climate-friendly projects,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.
“We thank the Canadian government for providing the resources to create this fund and are grateful for its decision to partner with the IDB,” he added.
Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley J. Oda, said fostering active private-sector participation, especially innovative initiatives that generate jobs, is “an important component of our efforts to make our international assistance more effective.
“Through this fund, the IDB will be helping to finance climate-related initiatives, helping to stimulate sustainable economic growth and deliver better results which will benefit Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole,” she said.
The IDB said the fund aims to mobilise private-sector investment in cleaner technologies, “which often have higher initial costs and longer paybacks than fossil fuel technology”.
“A key aspect of the Canada Climate Fund is its ability to level the playing field,” said Hans Schulz, IDB’s general manager at the Structured and Corporate Finance Department.
“Canada’s partnership offers us a tremendous opportunity to expand our support for climate-friendly projects in our member countries,” he added.
The IDB said projects supported may include renewable energy, energy efficiency, agriculture and forestry greenhouse-gas emission-reduction projects, as well as adaptation projects to reduce climate-change vulnerabilities.