My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Alternative Energy and Biofuels - Liberation from Fossil Fuels

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alternative Energy and Biofuels - Liberation from Fossil Fuels

Flagrans vertatis Studio

Motto of Glenmuir High School translated “Burning with the Zeal for Truth”

It seems everybody loves the soldiers and police (soldiers mostly) according to the latest Gleaner commissioned Bill Johnson poll with nine (9) in every ten (10) Jamaicans believing in the Jamaican Army in its sustained fight against thugs, with a similar belief that six (6) in every ten (10) police being corrupt.

A rather telling set of Just bet odds, if I were to gamble on the police versus the soldiers as stated in the article “Army power! - Let troops topple gangsters - poll”, published Wednesday June 16 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner, despite a general felt feeling that the soldiers abused their power as stated in the article “Soldiers accused of Abuse”, published Wednesday June 16 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But the positive effects are evident for anyone to see as resplendent in the decreased murder rate as stated in the article “Murders plunge in June”, published Wednesday June 16 2010, by Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner, with a bounty being placed on Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s head of twenty thousand (US$20000) dollars.

Albeit for someone wanted for extradition by the Government of the United States of America state Department for drug running, this amount seems rather paltry compared to the economic shock that the State of Emergency and the War on Tivoli (Hollywood, anybody want a script?) has caused on Jamaica, not to mention being too small for his friends to “rat” out on him, as opined by members of John Public in the article “Lots of money needed for friends to turn on Dudus”, published Wednesday June 16 2010, by Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Meanwhile, the politicians, both JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) and PNP (People National Party) are getting a beating at the polls with the approval rating of either falling as stated in the article “Bruce, Portia slide”, published Thursday June 17th 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner, which is naturally expected.

People are still surprised at the manner of the Governments of Jamaica’s necessary heavy handed approach which needs to be sustained in order to topple garrisons island wide, possibly with more “limited” States of Emergencies, with a specific aim to capture wanted criminals, repeating the above formula of Army intervention as stated in the opinion letter “More frequent State of Emergency”, published Wednesday June 16 2010, by Donald Jefferson Mckoy, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Despite the low rating by John Public in the Aftermath of the Tivoli Gardens War (is it now time for a documentary?) as stated in the article “Bruce walks tightrope - 54 percent of Jamaicans want him out of Jamaica House”, published Sunday June 20th 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner, the Jamaican Economy is now on a path towards growth, depending on whose statistics you are easily swayed.

Post-JDX (Jamaica Debt Exchange) as stated in the article “JDX ends at 99 percent; Minister says thanks”, published Thursday, February 25, 2010, The Jamaica Observer ( we have been on a ‘no skylarking” apolitical drive as described in the article “'No more skylarking' - PM outlines economic programme and debt exchange”, published Thursday, January 14, 2010 by Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner by the Bruce Golding-led Government of Jamaica since the incursion into Tivoli Gardens to not only capture Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

They have also uprooted the culture of Garrisons and whatever “good” they are perceived to represent as stated in the opinion piece “Myth of the Good Garrison”, published Sunday June 20th 2010, by Don Robotham, Contributor, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Thus we are on course to achieve the stated aims of the Government of Jamaica which, as far as one can see, aims to increase the tax net, reduce local debt, sell off non-performing Government of Jamaica infrastructure, cauterize the continuous slide of the Jamaican dollar via a US dollar denominated loan from the IMF, implementation of laws necessary to encourage growth such as the Credit Reporting bill and the Cyber Crime bill as stated in the article “Move to Tackle CyberCrime - Hacker got Golding”, published Sunday  February 14, 2010 by Philip Hamilton, The Jamaica Gleaner and eventually reduce inflation by the separation of our economy from the US dollar by liberalizing the Energy Sector.

The last item, the Liberalization of the Energy Economy, is now of greatest importance ever, as it is necessary in order to have production and manufacturing, the main driver that will move us from being a net importer of foreign goods to suit our growing appetite for la dolce vita to a next exporter and earner of foreign exchange, as stated in the article “Debt Swap and Debt Trap”, published Sunday 14 February 2010 by Robert Buddan, University Lecturer in the Department of Government, The Jamaica Gleaner and hence result in employment and further growth in the Services Sector as stated in my blog article entitled “Peak Oil in 2015 - What of Senator James Robertson Energy Policy”.

Signs abound of the positive effects on the Jamaican Economy as it relates to both the JDX and the just concluded War Against “Dudus” and his Henchmen (Hollywood, is that a good title for my script?) as noted in the letter to the editor entitled “Jamaicans ignoring positives”, published Monday June 14 2010, by Carlin Cook, The Jamaica Gleaner.

In it not only does Mr. Carlin Cook posit the fact that the police have reported no murders in a forty eight (48) hour period from Friday 11th June 2010, the Jamaica dollar is strengthening against all currencies, a result of the JDX and the IMF deal and our interest rate as issued by the BOJ is now in stable single digit territory, quoted here as approximately 9.5%, the lowest in twenty eight (28) years.

As if that was not enough to encourage further macroeconomic stabilization, the strengthening of the Jamaican Dollar translates to a ripple effect thought the Jamaican Economy, in the form of a decrease in Electricity Rates, hence the lowering of the rate hike of 4.7% granted by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) to the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd) to approximately 2.7% based on the Smile Jamaica First News, aired Tuesday June 15th 2010 by Simone Clarke-Cooper, Television Jamaica.

A reduction in the prices of certain products led by Mr. Matalon owned Wisynco Group as per advertisement on Sunday June 13  2010 in The Jamaica Gleaner, pg. A11 and a similar push by National Bakery to salute fledgling businesses in Jamaica titled The Bold Ones as per advertisement on Sunday June 13  2010 in the The Jamaica Gleaner, pg. F8, F9.

The Agriculture Sector and Tourism Sector are on the up and up, not withstanding the State War against the Tivoli Strongman (Hollywood, how mi sound?) and Senator James Robertson, Minister of Energy and Mining finally realizing the fact that either Energy Sector Liberalization or an increase in the efficiency in JPS Co Electricity Generation via the implementation of the use of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) stated by the JPS Co as resulting in a 20% to 30% decrease in the electricity bills of customers as stated in the article “Government eyes LNG cure for Energy problems”, published Wednesday June 16 2010 by Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is needed to encourage Private Sector to begin its ambitious expansion plans and thus generate growth and employment, growth here being referred to as not only employment but also increased exports and foreign exchange inflows as stated in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and LNG - Is Energy Sector Liberalization necessary?.

Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition spokesman on Mining and Energy has been saying this all along from his call for a divide in Parliament on the issue as stated in the article “Government, Opposition wrangle over Energy”,  published Saturday  April 3, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner followed up by further calls for Energy Sector Liberalization as stated in the article "Paulwell calls for number portability", published, Wednesday April 21, 2010, Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

Later on Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Senator on Mining and Energy stated that “the current cost [electricity and fuel] is astronomical, especially for businesses. What is needed at this time is competition in the sector,” as he stated in the article “'Follow my blueprint' - Paulwell phed for breakup of JPS monopoly”, published Friday April 30 2010, Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, all of which of course is document in my blog article entitled “PetroCaribe Trap - does this mean that Energy Sector Liberalization will not occur”.

The Biofuel Industry in general, specifically as it relates to the production of Anhydrous Ethanol using sewage, and pyrolized organic waste from any organic source as stated in the article “Microbes to start making ethanol, chemicals”, published November 18, 2009 9:52 AM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech, as well as the article “Microbe converts sludge to ethanol”, published Friday 11, December 2009, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – GreenTech, ( the article “Wood-chip ethanol maker opens plant”, published October 15, 2009 7:50 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech and the article “A Forest epidemic turns into Energy opportunity”, published April 7, 2010 2:04 PM PDT by Candace Lombardi CNET News - Green Tech, must be accelerated.

So too must be the acceleration of the development of Bio-Diesel as detailed in  the article “Gene-altered bus make Bio-Diesel”, published Wed Jan 27, 1:31 pm ET by Yahoo! News (AFP), Yahoo News and the article “'Green' gas and diesel get boost in biofuels grant”, published December 4, 2009 12:33 PM PST, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech and the article “Researchers coax bacteria to make Bio-Diesel, published January 27, 2010 3:59 PM PST by Martin LaMonica,  CNET News - Green Tech.

Even in the traditional frontier of Solar power, the Government of Jamaica must begin its expansion with the recent implementation of practical Steam Plants in the case of eSolar as stated in the article “eSolar plugs solar plant into California grid”, published August 4, 2009 9:01 PM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech as the only shining example thus far of a solar power plant able to deliver power competitively lower than that of Fossil Fuels.

Even the production of LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as well as Hydrogen must be considered a part of the Energy mix along with the use of the Bloom Energy Server as stated in the article “Bloom Energy unveils fuel cell of the future”, published Thu Feb 25, 9:01 am ET by Glenn Chapman, AFP, Yahoo News.

Investment is definitely coming to Jamaica in the form of the Government of People’s Republic of China having already begun negotiating with the Government of Jamaica as it relates to acquiring the Kingston Wharves as part of a US$6 billion investment in the relocation of Tinson Pen and VernamField Aerodromes and the development of the railway specifically for the transshipment of goods and services between the aerodromes and Kingston Wharves as stated in the article “CHINESE WANT KINGSTON WHARVES” published Monday, March 08, 2010 by Paul Henry, Observer Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Chinese broadcasters present in the delegation from China Radio International and China Central Television were also in the island interested in going into broadcasting under the invitation of Senator Daryl Vaz, Minister of Information, much to the annoyance and alarm of the ill-prepared MAJ (Media Association of Jamaica) as stated in the article “Chinese media proposal troubles local interest group”, published: Tuesday  April 6, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner, all of which is of course in my blog article entitled “Chinese in Broadcasting - The Beginning of massive investment in Jamaica to reach the USA”.

To round it off, Mr. Carlin Cook in his article letter to the editor entitled “Jamaicans ignoring positives”, published Monday June 14 2010, by Carlin Cook, The Jamaica Gleaner point out that we have received favorable ratings from the EU (European Union), OAS (Organization of American States), Oppenheimer and the Barack Obama Administration of the Government of the United States of America.

Not bad despite the political damage the Prime Minister is taking, as renewed calls for his head still resound in the article “Bruce pays Big”, published June 13th 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner but overwhelming support for Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s six (6) Crime Bills et al aimed at giving legal leverage to the police in its fight against crime as stated in the article “'They don't care about poor black people' - Crime Stop Chairman slams politicians, backs anti-crime bills”, published June 13th 2010, by Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Supporting articles abound: “Bring out the arsenal - Milton Samuda - JCC supports passage of crime bills”, published June 13th 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner, with ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Clifford Blake calling for social Intervention as stated in the article “ACP calls for social remedies”, published June 13th 2010, by Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Early signs of growth are being seen, green sprouts if you will, with business people encashing their Government Paper and looking to invest in other areas of higher growth or possible future growth in the economy, as suggested by the Jamaica Exporters Association(JEA) president Titus Evans in the article “JDX makes exporting more attractive”, published Wednesday, April 21, 2010, The Jamaica Observer mostly the production of farming produce for export, as this is a ready earner of foreign exchange, which is still rising gradually in value against our Jamaican Dollar.

Albeit this early article appears to be merely speculation, statistical evidence of the nascent growth spurt now is beginning to flesh out with nice milk teeth, hair and a little wagging tail to complement its faint heartbeat, as there is apparently an odd anomaly has been spotted in the form of the low level of turnover in profit.

But the unusual level of borrowing and possibly investment noticed in the Micro and Small Business Sector, collectively called MSE (Micro and Small Enterprise), “micro” being defined as having less than ten (10) employees and “small” being defined as having between ten (10) and fifty (50) employees as published in the latest exciting issue of the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) as stated in the article “Small businesses post JA$96 billion sales decline – Firms borrowing more and commerce worsens”, published Sunday June 2010 by Avia Collinder, Business Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Brushing the wording aside, the statistics indicate an increase of borrowing from private and public sector lending agencies in excess of 100 percent moving from JA$753.1 million in 2008 to JA$1.622 billion in 2009, with the bulk of borrowing being gender and age centric, with JA$98.6 or 65.9% being female borrowers and persons over the age of 36 years old borrowing 67% percent of loans on offer, compared to 33% of persons in the age range 18 to 35.

A glimmer of hope pre-JDX or is this a trend set to increase as reports are now coming in of an increasingly stable interest rate spread that the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Mr. Brian Wynter is lowering on a monthly basis now in single digit territory?

The Bank of Jamaica appears to be confident, signaling further rate cuts in the coming months as stated in the article “Interest Rate cut signals Bank of Jamaica optimism” published Sunday June 2010 by Sabrina Gordon, Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, with all that is needed being a CBD (Credit Bureau Database) as being urgently requested by the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Mr. Brian Wynter as stated in the article “Credit Rating Bureau needed quickly - Wynter”, published Friday January 22 2010, The  Daily Observer, by Alicia Roache, The Jamaica Observer.
The Commercial Banks, namely RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago), BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia) and the NCB (National Commercial Bank) seem reluctant to lower their interest rate spreads, as the losses incurred due to the JDX possibly still hurt and they are at least trying to ride out the difference between their rates to make up for the short term losses due to the surrender of their short term (read 30-day, 90-day, 180-day) Government of Jamaica Bond instruments, as those days are over for them as well, as it is back to the traditional business of banks – loans and borrowing.

But it is the investment in the Services Sector that catches my eye with its borrowing to the tune of JA$132 million as Gleaner Reporter Avia Collander cribs al dente possibly in her bid to keep it to the point. If this is a trend, it is an interesting trend, as aside from the Service Sectors mentioned in her summary, there is one Service Sector that will soon start popping up in this Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) in the next two (2) years: Wireless Municipal Internet Services, specifically Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) as detailed in my blog article entitled “CLARO and the Coming of Municipal Wi-Fi - Shadows of the Empire”.

Thus recent news of the Government of Cuba making hastily convened meetings with Alternative Energy Specialists from the United Kingdom and Italy as it relates to decoupling themselves from Fossil Fuel based Energy Economy as stated in the article “Gulf Oil spil reignites Caribbean Energy security”, published Sunday June 20 2010 by David Jessop, This Week in Europe Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner is further confirmation that Jamaica is headed in the right direction.

This as the Government of Cuba’s response is directly related to the apparent inability for the Government of the United States of America, with their all of their technologically prowess, to plug a simple Oil Well leak, now eight (8) weeks and five (5) days since the Deep Horizon Well off the coast of Louisiana exploded on Tuesday April 20th 2010 and sank, still gushing out live in real-time HD (High Definition) courtesy of Friends of the Earth for all the world to see.

Thus this and other positive signs from the economy should be clear enough signal of what course of action the Government of Jamaica should pursue: Energy Sector Liberalization, not only just from JPS Co, but from Fossil Fuel by developing a thriving Biofuel Industry, be it E85, Anhydrous Ethanol, Biodiesel, LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and LNG and Hydrogen so that as a nation Jamaica can continue Burning with the Zeal for Truth – and doing it Green, of which John Public approves. 

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