Gov’t Accelerating Further Reduction In Public-Sector Energy Bill

The Government’s drive to further reduce the public-sector energy bill is being accelerated during the 2019/20 fiscal year with the implementation of several projects under the Energy Management and Efficiency Programme, valued at more than $1 billion.

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Hon, Fayval Williams, says energy retrofit projects are slated for 19 government institutions, among these are entities in health and education.

“Some have been completed, some are going on now, and we are hoping to have them completed by the end of this fiscal year,” the Minister informed.

She was speaking at an energy retrofit workshop at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (November 26).

Mrs. Williams indicated that between 2013 and 2018, some US$2.2 million in savings was generated from the implementation of strategies under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme (EECP) at government entities.

She said these measures also reduced Jamaica’s oil consumption by 3,500 barrels and lowered the country’s carbon emissions by 5,800 tonnes.

The Minister informed that the outcomes were achieved through the installation of more than 80,000 square feet of heat-reducing film at 37 public-sector facilities; more than 200,000 square feet of cool roof solutions at 11 State entities; and energy efficiency air-conditioning fixtures at 25 government organisations.

Mrs. Williams also advised that light upgrading works are slated to commence at 50 public-sector agencies shortly.

“The demand for energy in all areas, especially in building, is growing. Lighting, cooling and, in some cases, heating are three areas which require significant resources,” she pointed out.

The Minister cited data from the International Energy Agency which indicated that buildings and the construction sector account for 36 per cent of global energy consumption and nearly 40 per cent of total direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions.

She said consequent on this, “what has become abundantly clear is that we cannot continue to build in the same manner as we did 10 or 20 years ago”.

Mrs. Williams emphasised the importance of retrofitting as an essential part of the country’s energy efficiency agenda, while advising that the Ministry has taken note of benefits being derived from this undertaking in several public buildings.

Meanwhile, the Minister commended the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and their partners for hosting the workshop, which she described as timely and important.

This, she added, in a bid to continue the dialogue surrounding energy efficiency and identify ways to utilise energy wisely.

“This undertaking is aligned with Goals 1 and 6 of our National Energy Policy, which speak to Jamaicans using energy wisely and government ministries and agencies being models/leaders in energy conservation respectively,” Mrs. Williams pointed out.

She further emphasised that the efficient use of energy “is a crucial part of our efforts, not just to see a reduction in our electricity bills but to also create a sustainable environment”.