Jamaica currently leads the Caribbean in wind energy integration, boasting an installed capacity of 41.93MW (Megawatts). Its latest addition to the national grid being the Munro Find Farm, completed in September 2010. The Munro Wind Farm is a 3MW power plant, own and operates by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo.). The plant consisting of 4 Unison turbines (750kW each), costing approximately J$800M and representing the utility’s first step towards electricity generation using wind.
Wigton Wind Farm, located in the cool rural parish of Manchester, is the largest grid-tied utility-scale wind power facility in the Caribbean. Situated on the southern tip of the Don Figuerero Mountain in parish, this wind farm boasts a total installedcapacity of 38.7MW. Wigton Wind Farm is owned and operated by Wigton Windfarm Limited (WWF), a subsidy of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).
Wigton was the brainchild of the late Dr. Raymond Wright, then group managing director of PCJ. The idea to construct the wind sprung from the vision of Dr. Anthony Chen, who pioneered electric power from wind-energy research in Jamaica. Working with the Division of Energy in the then Ministry of Mining, Dr. Chen initiated a wind-mapping programme in 1978, from which was spawned Jamaica’s first grid-connected wind-powered generator (225kW), installed at Munro College in February 1996.
The Wigton Wind Farm was constructed in two phases completed in 2004 and 2010. The first phase, Wigton I, shown in figure, comprises of 23 NEG-Micon 900/52 turbines, each with an installed capacity of 900kW (kilowatts). The second phase, Wigton II, consists of 9 Vestas V80 turbines, each with an installed capacity of 2 megawatts (MW). Their respective capacity factors are 35 percent and 33 percent, which means together they generate around 115 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity per year. In total the wind farm is expected to offset 60,000 barrels of oil per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 85,000 tons.
The increase in wind integration forms part of the Jamaican Government 2009-2030 Energy Policy, which endeavours to increase the percentage of renewable energy to 20% by 2030.See also Jamaica’s Hydroelectric Potential.