Jamaica gives green light to 381 MW power deal

(Jamaica Gleaner) Energy World International (EWI) has been given the official green light to supply 381MW of generating capacity to the Jamaica Public Service, using natural gas as fuel source, with the signing of the licence by Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell.

Paulwell’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining (MSTEM) on Tuesday confirmed that the licence had been finalised and was issued on April 4 but was amended and restated on April 14 “to provide for some negotiated changes as well as to include a draft implementation agreement between the Government of Jamaica and EWI”.

EWI has 10 days from the April 14 to pay US$37 million as a performance bond or risk losing the US$7 million that it previously posted as a bid bond. It also has 30 days from the signing to provide the Office of Utilities Regulation with a fuel-source plan and a further 10 days to indicate the price, The Gleaner reported in March.

The MSTEM announcement did not come soon enough to prevent the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) from raising questions about the project’s status, however.

In a luncheon address to the Kiwanis Club of Kingston yesterday, Christopher Zacca, PSOJ president, said it was “unacceptable” that for “over two weeks now, we have heard nothing more on this licence”.

The project had been “mired in controversy and a lack of transparency,” Zacca said.

He said he had three questions for Paulwell. While the first two questions on whether the licence had yet been signed and on what date, had been answered, the third had not.

Zacca wanted to know if the licence contained “critical safeguards”, especially the five per cent performance bond.

The licence and the draft implementation agreement will be made public after Paulwell meets “very shortly” with the Energy Monitoring Committee (EMC), the MSTEM said in its statement yesterday.

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