The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is forging ahead with its agreement with Green RG LLC, an alternative energy company based in the United States, to conduct a pilot project involving several Local Government entities.
On Thursday May 3, 2012, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, the Honourable Noel Arscott announced the selection of the facilities that will be used for the project. The Minister said that a work order has been issued for the supply of solar-LED technology and retrofitting of:
1. Five thousand (5,000) street lights in Clarendon, St. Catherine and Kingston
2. The Ministry’s Administrative Buildings
3. The St. Mary and Manchester infirmaries
4. The Brown’s Town and Coronation Markets
5. The St. James Parish Council Building
This pilot project is being conducted under the terms of an MOU signed between the Ministry and Green RG LLC late last year and is designed to demonstrate the United States based company’s patented technology which it asserts will result in at least a 20% reduction in electricity costs in the selected entities. The company has been conducting energy audits of various local government facilities.
While welcoming the initiative which he says will result in an initial saving of approximately $40 million per year ($30 million of which is on the streetlight bill alone), Minister Arscott said the pilot programme is but a drop in the bucket as the cost for streetlights has increased by an alarming 83% between January 2009 and February 2012 and there are approximately ninety-three thousand (93,000) street lights in Jamaica which is projected to cost the Ministry approximately $2.62 billion this year alone.
As a result, the Minister says he will be pursuing other energy saving alternatives, “two months ago I (along with the Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining) established a street light task force with a view of drastically reducing our streetlight bill. The first report of that Committee is now ready”.
Meanwhile the Green RG pilot, which is still in the energy audit phase, is expected to be completed in September 2013. The programme is being conducted at no cost to the Government of Jamaica and the Office of the Contractor General has issued a ‘No Objection’ to this pilot.