My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Jamaica and Cuba collaborate on Solar Panels Production in Jamaica to connect the last 3% - Jamaica's rebranding of the REP to the JESL started the Alternative Energy Hunger Games Catching Fire

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jamaica and Cuba collaborate on Solar Panels Production in Jamaica to connect the last 3% - Jamaica's rebranding of the REP to the JESL started the Alternative Energy Hunger Games Catching Fire

“There is no reason why we should not be moving to establish an industry, whether assembling or manufacturing solar panels, not just for Jamaica, but for the entire Caribbean. Energy is big business”

Minister Phillip Paulwell at the opening ceremony for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Analysis and Investigation for Low Emission (AILEG) project symposium, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday July 9th 2013

It seems that  Jamaica, when it comes to it relationship with Cuba, is up to more than just swapping light bulbs for CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) as stated in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell revives Cuban Light Bulb Program - How to Ban Incandescent Bulbs and focus on production of LED Bulbs in Jamaica”.

This as the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) has now taken up my suggestion and has gone ahead with a partnership with the Cuban Government to make Solar Panels in Jamaica with assistance from Cuba as stated in “Jamaica, Cuba to join forces in building cheap solar panels locally”, Published Sunday July 7, 2013 12:03 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner and  “Cuba to Provide Expertise in Manufacture of Solar Panels”, Published Friday July 5, 2013 3:18 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This was echoed in the opening speech on Tuesday July 9th 2013 by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell at the opening ceremony for the USAID (United States Agency for International Development)-funded AILEG (Analysis and Investigation for Low Emission) project symposium, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. In that speech he exhorted the brethren in the Manufacturing and Private Sector to get into the business of Making Solar Panels as stated in “Paulwell urges REP, JPS collaboration to increase use of solar systems”, published Wednesday, July 10, 2013, The Jamaica Observer.

He stated that the remaining 3% of Jamaican still not on the JPS Co Power Grid would have to be connected this way, quote: “Those three per cent that now remain are in areas that are so far from the grid, it is too expensive (to provide), and we are going to be deploying photovoltaic systems in these areas” .

Apparently, this decision was previously announced by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell at the ceremonial switching on of lights in New Forest/Plumwood, Manchester on Wednesday, July 3rd 2013 as part of the newly rebranded REP (Rural Electrification Project) now going by the fancy moniker JESL (Jamaica Ener­gy Solutions Limited). These lucky 50 residents of 50 residents of New Forest/Plumwood got jacked into the system to the tune of JA$3 million and ate not part of the 80,000 the REP has assisted since 1975.

 The Official Press Release came in my Gmail from the GOJ mouthpiece, the Jamaica Information Service, to which I’m a subscriber in the article “Cuba to Provide Expertise in Manufacture of Solar Panels”, published Friday, 05 July 2013 09:32 by Douglas McIntosh, The Jamaica Information Service.

For those who think this is a waste of GOJ’s resources one only needs to take a look at our Caribbean neighbours Suriname which only Friday May 17th 2013 announced its intentions to use Solar Panels as a means of bringing electricity to Remote Village communities far from the Local Power Grid as stated in the article “Suriname looks into solar energy for remote communities”, published Friday, May 17, 2013, The Jamaica Observer.

The rest of the Caribbean has also advanced their Alternative Energy agenda since 2010 as well. Trinidad and Tobago has plans since October 2010 to make Solar Panels as stated in “Trini Govt looking into glass, solar panel plant”, published Friday, October 01, 2010, The Jamaica Observer and Barbados is contemplating powering all Government Buildings using Solar Power as stated in “Barbados gov't buildings to get solar panels”, published Monday, November 12, 2012 9:15 PM, The Jamaica Observer. 

The need for the rebranding of the REP is easy to figure out; their mandate is now changing from getting people connected to JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) Power Grid to getting the remaining 3% of Jamaicans electricity by whatever means possible.

This Last 3% without electricity shares the same problems with the Telecoms World in that there are some part of Jamaica that, despite the best of their efforts, are inaccessible to traditional Wired Internet Access as well as Wireless Internet Access or the cost to getting Telecommunications Services is inexplicable and unavoidably costly to the point of being impractical.

This problem, the so-called Last Mile in Telecoms, is being tackled by a variety of strategies relating to improving the cost-effectiveness of Telecom Deployments namely:

1.      Shared Wireless Broadband Solutions e.g. MiFi as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Crouching LIME Huawei E586 Mi-Fi – Hidden Dekal Wireless Dragon
2.      Shared broadband solutions such as FTTH (Fiber to The Home) as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME goes FTTH like Verizon's FiOS - Free ADSL after FTTH Mass Adoption
3.      Low cost broadband Providers such as Municipal Wi-Fi as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Dekal Wireless: Broadband for the Masses”. Dekal Wireless in my community of Milk River, Clarendon easily comes to mind.
4.      Powerline Broadband as was suggested by Minister Paulwell and which now technically possible despite my blog article entitled “Senator Phillip Paulwell and PowerLine Broadband - Ice Station Zebra”. For more info read my Geezam blog article “How to expand and secure your Wi-Fi Network with Power-Line Adaptors
6.      Satellite Broadband for Rural Communities in Jamaica as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Satellite Broadband - Quantum of Solace and The Tourist
7.      Even balloons with Municipal Wi-Fi as is currently being tested by Google via its Project Loon as described in “Meet Google's 'Project Loon': Balloon-powered Net access”, published June 14, 2013 8:39 PM PDT by Eric Mack, CNET News

In the Electricity Generation and Distribution World, this is being tackled by the deregulation of Monopoly Rights of PUC (Power Utility Companies) via the introduction of competition. This forces the Local PUC’s to innovate to competed with the new entrants coming into their Space by 2016 as stated in “It's August 2016: New date for 115MW renewable energy plant!” published Sunday June 9, 2013 by Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner and “OUR gets 28 bids for renewable energy”, published Wednesday, June 05, 2013, The Jamaica Observer.

These wannabe investors in Jamaica’s Renewable Energy Sector to supply some 115MW of power will be competing with bigger installations to be built by US-based Green RG Management LLC (Green RG) and Canadian-based Solamon Energy Corp as explained in my blog article entitled “Solamon Energy Corp & Green RG invest in Jamaica's Alternative Energy Future - Let the Cheaper Energy Hunger Games for Latin America Begin”. Assuming that this ruling from the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) holds, of course.

A good example of this locally is JPS Co’s (Jamaica Public Service Company) introduction of Digital Meters for Remote Billing Purposes with the intention to introduce Prepaid Power and a host of other power Services as noted in my blog article entitled “JPS Co to introduce Prepaid Power and other Services by 2013 - Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 Signals Coming Competition from Alternative Energy”. JPS Co knows competition is coming and is thus modernizing itself to meet it head on as surmised in my Geezam blog article entitled “JPS Co Analog Meter upgrade heralds Remote Billing Revolution”.

As it relates to investors in Solar Power, US FDI (Foreign direct investor) Green Energy RG and their contract to upgrade the Streetlights to Solar powered LED (Light Emitting Diode) Street lights in a bid to reduce the GOJ’s lighting bill also comes readily to mind as chronicled in my blog article entitled “Green Energy RG installing 5000 Solar Powered LED Streetlights in Jamaica - Local Government's the Gangster Squad from West of Memphis towards a more Energy Efficient GOJ” is yet another example.

Investment thus spurs Innovative solutions to the problem of Electrification of residential communities of any country who are outside of the National Grid. In most cases, if not all, it involves the use of Alternative Energy.  Thus this GOJ-Cuban initiative is long overdue and should have been the thrust of the Cuban Light Bulb Program from inception.

But it ain’t too late folks!

The rebranding of the REP to the JESL and now expansion of Cuban co-operation to include the development of Solar Panels in Jamaica is furtherance of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining aim to connect the last 3% of Jamaicans to the Power Grid. In the long run, the production of Solar Panels here in Jamaica will reduce the price of Solar Power and thus reduce the cost of Electricity via mass production and economy-of-scale driven by export, as Trinidad and Tobago intends to do.

It’ll help the WWFL (Wigton Wind Farms Limited) to reduce our dependence on Fossil Fuels for Power and increase our usage of Alternative Energy to at least 12.5% by 2015 in accordance with the National Energy Policy as part of Vision 2030 as stated in “Wigton to add 62% more wind power”, published Wednesday, April 17, 2013 By Shamille Scott Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Hopefully in the process not only will it spur production of Solar Panels but also the Computer Electronics Manufacturing Industry for such things as simple as Computer Cooling Fans or even Cooling Pads to LED (Light Emitting Diodes) which can be manufactured right here in Jamaica as opined by Green Energy RG in the article “Cutting energy bills - Company tells how”, Published Saturday June 19, 2010 by Laura Redpath, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Jamaica Alternative Energy The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) has begun……Stay tuned for more news on this development.

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