Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the 190 megawatt (MW) power plant being constructed by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine, is an ideal example of a well-managed project that can potentially spur increased local and foreign direct investments.
“It sends a very good signal to the international community about the state of the Jamaican economy to not just sustain the financing of such a large project but to also have all the necessary support, infrastructure and facilities in place to ensure that such a large investment can go off seamlessly,” he said.
Mr. Holness said the US$330 million project, which is largely financed by local investors, augurs well for Brand Jamaica, and anticipates that “we will be seeing (more) large projects of this nature in the future.”
“Investors can rest assured that they can calculate and manage their risks in Jamaica, that the Jamaican Government is supportive of these large investments and that we have the labour force to support (them),” he added.
The Prime Minister was speaking with journalists following a tour of the project site on Tuesday (August 21).
Holness pointed out that the development, which is two months ahead of schedule and within budget, is a major achievement for Jamaica, as not only will it ensure the country’s energy security, “but for the average consumer, it will inevitably see a reduction in your electricity prices”.
“I am also happy to know that the plant itself is far more environmentally (friendly) in its design, in that the particulate discharge will be far less than the old plant and that this is a combined cycle plan… so you’re getting far more energy out of every unit of fuel that you use,” he stated.
Holness said he is also pleased that the project has provided employment for a number of locals, noting that it was “heart-warming to see the many Jamaicans coming to work.”
“These kinds of infrastructure projects, though they use quite a bit of foreign exchange, generate significant employment, and just interacting with the labour force on the site here, tells me that the management of the construction here and JPS, have taken all the necessary measures to ensure that there is industrial harmony on the site and that there is some amount of human resource development taking place,” he noted.
More than 570 persons have been employed on the project, 444 of whom are Jamaican. Residents of Old Harbour Bay and adjoining communities account for 225 of the workforce.
Meanwhile, JPS President and Chief Executive Officer, Emanuel DaRosa, said the company is “very proud of what we have accomplished at this point”.
“This is a major undertaking… for JPS and there are some significant benefits that are going to flow out of this project for the people of Jamaica,” he assured.
Notably, he said, are increased efficiency, lower fuel costs and environmentally safe operations.
The development, dubbed ‘Project Renaissance’, will entail replacement 292MW of obsolete power generation equipment with new efficient natural gas-fired generating capacity.
Financing of approximately US$210 million was secured through a consortium of local banks.