Jamaican News

Jamaicans Have Appetite to Invest in Energy Sector – Minister

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the overwhelming response to the sale of shares in Wigton Windfarm to the public by the Government, clearly demonstrates that Jamaicans have the appetite to invest in the energy sector.

The Wigton Initial Public Offer (IPO), which was oversubscribed by $9 billion, saw approximately 31,000 Jamaicans purchasing shares. Additionally, it resulted in 11,000 new investors joining the stock market.

“As an Administration, we are serious about providing wealth creation avenues for our people,” the Minister said.

She was speaking at a bond-signing ceremony between NCB Capital Markets Limited and New Fortress Energy (NFE), at the AC Marriott Hotel in Kingston, on Tuesday (August 27).

Against the background of the Wigton IPO response, Mrs. Williams said plans by NFE to issue a bond to raise US$185 million is welcome.

The proceeds will be used to complete the combined heat and power plant being built at Clarendon-based bauxite and alumina refinery, Jamalco.

The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-powered facility, which is slated for completion in 2020, will supply steam for the refinery’s operations and electricity to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

“I believe that this move [bond issue] is opportune and comes at a time when Jamaicans are bullish about investments. As Energy Minister, I am pleased by the significant investment opportunities being afforded to our people via the energy sector,” Mrs. Williams said.

Noting that NFE has been a “good partner” in further developing and diversifying Jamaica’s energy sector through the introduction of LNG in 2016, where others “perceived that there was no opportunity,” Mrs. Williams said the entity is again “taking a bold move” in presenting the bond issue investment option.

“The Government of Jamaica’s partnerships with New Forest and our many other stakeholders have gone a far way towards ensuring that Jamaica’s energy supply is secure and sufficient to support long-term economic and social development, and environmental sustainability, which is in accordance with Goal No. 4 of our National Energy Policy,” she further noted.

The extent of these developments, Mrs. Williams pointed out, include conversion of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) 114-megawatt energy plant in Bogue, St. James, to an LNG-powered facility; construction of a similarly powered 190mw plant in Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine, the JAMALCO facility, and the South Jamaica Power Company; and commissioning of the floating storage regasification terminal, “which strategically positions Jamaica as a premier LNG hub in the region”.

She noted that the demand for and use of LNG globally is increasing, and that as the effects of climate change become more evident, governments across the world are working “assiduously” to reduce harmful emissions, while increasing access to affordable power for their citizens.

Mrs. Williams said the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that the demand for natural gas grew by about 4.6 per cent in 2018, the fastest annual pace since 2010.

She pointed out that the demand for natural gas is expected to rise by more than 10 per cent over the next five years, to reach more than 4.3 trillion cubic metres in 2024.

Additionally, Mrs. Williams said industrial use of natural gas as fuel and feedstock is set to expand at an average annual rate of three per cent, accounting for almost half of the increase in global consumption, up to 2024.

“I am pleased to say that Jamaica, as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), is part of this global movement. As a Ministry, we are on a mission to transform our nation with energy, thus creating a modern, efficient, diversified and environmentally sustainable energy sector,” she said.

“We are committed to diversifying our energy mix with the inclusion of renewables and cleaner fuels such as LNG,” Mrs. Williams added.



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