My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JPS Co to build 100 KW Solar Plant at UTECH - Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) Benevolence as LNG Project now Taken 2 the next Level for 2015AD

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

JPS Co to build 100 KW Solar Plant at UTECH - Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) Benevolence as LNG Project now Taken 2 the next Level for 2015AD


“For the first time the university will have a diversified energy mix, using clean renewable energy. It will exercise our responsibility towards a low-carbon economy”

Comments by Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, Director of Sustainable Energy, UTECH during a MOU Signing with JPS Co on Monday October 8th 2012AD

It appears that the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) is riding on a euphoric contractual high that tinged with LNG (Liquid Natural Gas). Minister of Science, Technology Energy and Mining had acceded to the fact that the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) just can’t afford the LNG Plant as I’d suspected and voiced in my blog article entitled “JPS Co parents Marubeni and EWP mull decision to supply LNG - GOJ to eat Humble Pie to avoid an Ice Age Continental Drift”.

To this end, Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea, majority shareholders of JPS Co have decided to let their issues with the GOJ be water under the bridge and show their better side of Benevolence to the People of Jamaica.


In keeping with this spirit of co-operation between Jamaica Japan and South Korea, Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea have decided to make UTECH (University of Technology) my alma mater where I did my Diploma in Telecommunications and Electronics (1997-2001), go off the Grid, Guinea Pig Style via the installation of a 100 kW Photovoltaic Plant (that solar Power folks!) as reported in “UTech to run on solar power”, published Wednesday, October 10, 2012 BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

In a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) signing event between UTECH and the JPS Co on Monday October 8th 2012AD, a fancy term for a contract that still has bugs to be sorted out via further negotiations,  the 100 kW Solar Plant, supposedly the largest single installation in Jamaica, will be completed in six (6) months time.

It marks JPS Co’s second contribution to UTECH’s Engineering Department, albeit in a more practical way, as it means that its Power Engineers can get hands-on work experience installing Solar Equiptment and possibly even secure jobs at the company. Lots of Bravado on Campus for the Power Engineers and the Engineering Department for sure!

They definitely must take pride in the fact that their installation, to be built by UTECH Power Engineers with assistance from JPS Co, will eventually achieve the enviable feat of diversifying UTECH Power Supply by some 30% by the year 2030, in line with the Vision 2030 Agenda for the rest of Jamaica. In the short term, this 100 kW solar Power Plant will take UTECH off the Grid and achieving JA$1 million in savings per month for UTECH. 

Interestingly their next door neighbours, the UWI (University of the West Indies), have yet to start their Call Center powered by Sutherland Global as reported in my blog article entitled “UWI opens Call Center to employ Students - Call Center Work before Six Degrees of Hell in the Working World” to help students save money and restore the acrimonious relationship between the Students Union and the Guild of UWI Students that they represent and the UWI Administration.

A quick visit and few questions on Wednesday October 10th 2012AD posed by bespectacled self to some prospective UWI student employees-in-training revealed that they are still in training and they are yet to start taking calls on their Production Floor, which is located at the back of the Law Faculty on the UWI Campus, Mona. Mums the word it seems, too, on which accounts and how much money they’ll be making on Campus.

Given the size of UWI, it would’ve thought they were more in need of a Solar Plant to get off the Grid and save on Electricity usage, the main source of expenditure on the Campus, an old acquaintance had pointed while I snuck about the Campus. I too had made this observation in my blog article entitled “How UWI can save money in a recession”, making me wonder now with UTECH undertaking this Guinea Pig Project, if in fact they had cribbed the idea meant for UWI’s eyes from my blog post and adapted it to themselves.

Whatever man!

Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea has decided to express its benevolence to UTECH as JPS Co had already contributed to the Power Engineering section of UTECH by building and maintaining a Power Laboratory.

This as the GOJ has decided to hand it over to JPS Co to supply the fuel for the LNG Plant while disbanding the LNG Steering Committee and relegating the GOJ’s role to that of a Legislator and Regulator as per the article “LNG project lives”, published Wednesday October 3, 2012, McPherse Thompson, Assistant Editor - Business, The Jamaica Gleaner. So says Minister Paulwell in a hastily called Press Briefing on Tuesday October 2nd, 2012AD.

The GOJ may still contributing it half of the US$614 million LNG Plant to be constructed in Old Harbour, St Catherine as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “JPS Co to build Jamaica’s first Gas Turbine Power Plant in St. Catherine. All that has changed is that the GOJ won’t be sourcing the LNG. Offers thus far on the Table from LNG Bidders Shell and Morgan Stanley were too expensive, coming in at US$15.60 per MMBtu (one million British thermal unit)  compared to what JAMALCO (US$10.00 per MMBtu) and what JPS Co (US$12.00 per MMBtu) saw as feasible and willing to pay.

Minister Paulwell’s negotiations skills did it again it seems, with a commitment from Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea, joint owners of JPS Co to procure the LNG from Far East Markets at prices that will guarantee a 30% reduction in electricity Bills and a completion of the LNG Project by 2015AD.

From the sounds of it, it seems that the GOJ has moved away from Plan A executed Plans D, a combination of Plans B and C, which is effectively to have JPS Co’s parents Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea procure the LNG and built the LNG Plant as recommended in my blog article entitled “JPS Co parents Marubeni and EWP mull decision to supply LNG - GOJ to eat Humble Pie to avoid an Ice Age Continental Drift”.

With the LNG Committee disbanded after burning through US$2.8 million of the US$5.4 million budgeted in 2011AD for the LNG Project, it’s a good decision made just at the right time, saving the GOJ Billions of dollars in money we just don’t have and in the meantime guaranteeing a projects completion via Legislation and Regulations.

Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea Benevolence as the LNG Project is Taken 2 (2012) the Next Level by 2015AD.
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