Recently, two new wind farms (Wigton III and BMR) were commissioned onto the Jamaican electricity grid with a combined capacity of 60 megawatts (MW). This pushes the paradise Island beyond the 100 MW mark, now having total installed capacity of 102 MW.
The Wigton III Wind FarmWigton III is a 24 MW wind farm owned and operated by Wigton Windfarm Ltd (WWFL) – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ). WWFL also own and operate two other farms – Wigton I and II rated at 20.7 and 18 MW respectively. The new facility consists of twelve G80-2.0 MW wind turbines, a 9.6 km 69 kilovolts (kV) transmission line, and a new substation constructed by the Spanish firm Gamesa.
It is expected to reduce the national oil consumption by an additional 37,100 barrels per year, which can save the country more than JA$230 million annually, adding to the more than JA$3 billion saved by the country in the past 11 years through the operations of Wigton I and Wigton II, commissioned in 2004 and 2010, respectively. The expansion has brought Wigton’s total capacity to 62.7 MW, retaining its position as the largest wind energy facility in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean.
The BMR Wind Farm
The BMR (Blue Mountain Renewables) is also a new wind farm, rated at 36.3 MW. It consists of eleven V112-3.3 MW wind turbines, a 18 km 69 kV transmission line and a substation constructed by dutch firm Vestas. The US$90 million project is the single largest private sector investment in renewable energy undertake to date in the Island. BMR will sell electric energy to the grid operator (JPS) at US12.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in accordance with their 20 years power purchase agreement.
These two wind farm projects were selected as the lowest-price projects among 28 proposals offered in response to the OUR’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the addition of 115 MW of renewable energy power generation capacity in 2012. Given that Jamaica has now gained a decent track record of successfully commissioning wind projects, then it is expected that at least two such wind farms should come online by the end of 2018.
This is especially, in light of the recent announcement by the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, during the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate that the Government will soon be advertising an RFP for the supply of an additional 100 MW of renewable energy.