The Government is to undertake a major initiative valued at $1 billion as part of efforts to reduce its electricity bill for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
This is to be accomplished through the introduction of several major public sector energy efficiency projects valued at more than $1 billion.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by Energy Minister, Fayval Williams, during her contribution to the 2019-2010 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
“Through the Energy Management & Efficiency Programme, deep energy retrofit projects are slated for 19 Government of Jamaica (GOJ) health, education and other public agencies. Initial work should begin for lighting upgrade projects at 50 public sector facilities,” Williams revealed.
She said that as a means of safeguarding the extensive investment being made under the programme, some 330 employees are to be involved in the operation, management and maintenance of the equipment to be installed at the facilities that will benefit from the programme. She said employees at the facilities will also receive training, beginning in the first quarter of 2019-2020.
In the current financial year, six public hospitals are slated to benefit from major energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.
The health facilities that are down to benefit are the May Pen Hospital, National Chest Hospital, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, Bellevue Hospital, the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital and the Black River Hospital.
Among other things, the interventions at the institutions are to involve the installation of energy efficient lighting, solar photovoltaic technology and solar water heating systems. The upgrades are expected to reduce collective electricity demand by 1,305,000 kWh annually, which at current rates translates to more than $41 million in savings, Williams shared.
Meanwhile, the energy minister said an Urban Traffic Management System (UTMS) is to be rolled out this financial year. She said it will “revolutionise the way Jamaicans commute in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA)”.
Under the UTMS, some US$3.5 million of financing has been provided for the purchase and installation of equipment to manage traffic in the KMA.
Williams explained that the system will include a centrally controlled intelligent transportation system, integration platform for traffic monitoring, operation, planning and modelling, as well as traffic controllers, detectors and other equipment to provide real-time traffic counts and patterns.
Additionally, training is to be provided for employees of the National Works Agency (NWA) who will be involved in the operation and maintenance of the system.
“Jamaicans can therefore look forward to shorter travel times in the KMA,” said Williams.
The programme is being implemented in collaboration with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), the NWA and the Ministry of Transport and Mining.