Topic: Public Facilities
Please allow me this opportunity to propose to the government that it directs the National Water Commission [NWC] to champion the development of hydro-electric power generation in Jamaica. With exception of our bauxite companies, NWC is likely the largest consumer of electricity in the nation, but definitely so within the government. Initially, this could take the form of self-generation to provide power to operate its pumping network, but need not be limited to this in the future.In a recent study involving Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it was concluded that potential hydro-power capacity was more than double that being used, though only marginal hydro-power plants were planned for the near future. I would suspect the same for Jamaica, but who else is better able to evaluate our potential and advise us than NWC?Most of us think hydro-electric plants need to be large facilities, like the 306 MW plant planned for Cost Rica or the 165 MW plant to be constructed on Guyana’s Amalia Falls. But, low-head hydro-electric generators are available with capacities from 6kW to 5MW. Riva Riddim ecotourism-park, proposed for the White River Valley, just outside Ocho Rios, is designed to use three 6kW hydro power generators to provide a significant portion of its energy needs.With implementation, this proposal will reduce NWC’s dependence on JPS for power. Its pumping facilities could be located outside the grid, in remote areas, where it could better serve its customers and reduce the risk of being connecting to a grid exposed to storm-force winds. Their operating costs would fall with use of more efficient plants that do not require importation of expensive oil. And, the country would benefit from more efficient service, improvement in our balance of payment, and reduced liability under the Petro-Caribe Agreement.