Jamaican wind farm saved country J$229M in five months

(Jamaica Gleaner) The Wigton Windfarm in Manchester produced enough energy to save the country expenditure estimated at more than $229 million on the importation of oil during the first five months of fiscal year 2011-12, according to data released by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

PCJ said that during the period April to August this year, Wigton, the largest such facility in the English-speaking Caribbean, produced a total of 46.32 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity.

The energy produced was sufficient to allow the wind farm to sell power to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to power about 50,000 homes per month.

Production of the energy resulted in Jamaica avoiding the importation of some 27,253 barrels of oil, equivalent to US$2.67 million or J$229 million at the rate of US$98.06 per barrel, and the emission of 38,639 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the corporation said on Friday.

In 2008 when the PCJ decided to expand the wind farm, it projected that it would add 55 million kilowatts to the national grid annually and reduce the petroleum import bill by US$3.2 million.

According to the PCJ, at US 10.7 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy without capacity, Wigton is the lowest-priced independent supplier of electricity to the JPS.

Wigton presently owns and operates the 38.7-megawatt wind-farm complex, which represents 4.5 per cent of generating capacity installed on the national grid, and 2.6 per cent of electricity generation, the PCJ said.

The Wigton complex, sited on a 683-acre farm, consists of the 20.7-megawatt Wigton phase one, commissioned in 2004, as well as the 18- megawatt phase two, commissioned in December 2010 with 100 per cent debt financing from the PetroCaribe Development Fund.

Phase one was done at a cost of US$6.7 million, while phase two, which improved on the technology used, cost US$50 million.

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