JPS to invest $100m in grid modernisation
March 11, 2020
Jamaica Public Service (JPS) plans to invest more than $100m towards the modernisation of the nation’s electricity grid within the next five years, according to chief executive officer Emanuel DaRosa speaking at last month’s Energy Climate Partnership of Americas (ECPA) ministerial meeting in Jamaica.
He pointed out that to expedite the modernisation of the grid, the company had installed smart switches, trip savers, fault indicators and automated several of its systems.
“At the core of the smart grid is the smart meter and at this point, half of our customers in Jamaica have smart meters, so we can do several things we could not do before,” DaRosa said.
He added that as the company continued to modernise its activities, it was moving towards notifying customers via a text message of power outages and restoration.
“There is a tremendous amount of investment and modernisation going on in the Jamaican energy field and there is far more to come,” he said. “Energy globally is moving in three directions – affordability, sustainability and reliability – so we are putting much greater focus on these areas. We’re looking at microgrid opportunities, the automation of our transmission and distribution networks for self-healing capacity and energy storage.”
He argued that the field of energy was changing rapidly, so the JPS was supportive of the new policies set out by the government, such as Vision 2030 and the electric vehicle policy.
“We’re the national electricity supplier and we play an important role in the development of Jamaica, so we’re doing a lot of things to support both policies,” DaRosa said.
He cited the new $315m power plant that was constructed in Old Harbour by the company. “The new power plant is a huge advancement for Jamaica,” he said. “Its efficiency is twice that of the plant it replaced, as it produces twice as much energy.”
The island’s current peak demand is 660MW and is forecast to increase to 877MW by 2035. He said the company would diversify its energy sources to meet the growing demand for energy.