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World Bank providing US$2.5 Million for energy efficiency project in Jamaica

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Jamaican Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. James Robertson, says US$2.5 million is being provided through the World Bank's World Energy Security and Efficiency Project, to drive improvements in energy efficiency within the private sector. He made the disclosure at Wednesday's (September 15) launch of the European Union (EU)-funded 'Capacity Building of Caribbean Private Sector Environmental and Energy Management Capabilities' project at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston. The provision will go towards financing a pilot energy efficiency revolving facility, with grant funds to be sourced from the Global Environmental Facility and the Multi-lateral Fund for Implementation of the Montreal Protocol as needed, to support the proposed facility and technical capacity downstream.
The aim, the Minister said, is to ensure sustainable access to and utilisation of renewable and energy efficient equipment, within the private sector. He indicated that if the pilot is successful, additional resources will be made available, emphasising that "guarantees have been put forward."
"That application has been made. We have applied for additional funding from the World Bank for up to US$4.5 million for this and other programmes. We anticipate approval as soon as the current initiatives prove successful," Mr. Robertson stated.
The additional funding will provide for the expansion of the loan facility to householders, to enable them to access solar water heaters and other energy conservation and efficiency systems for their homes "at low interest rates".

In addition, the National Housing Trust (NHT) will be able to broaden its conservation initiative, and give consideration to introducing energy saving and efficiency as a condition of home improvement loans. Enhancing efficiency is one of the major components under the World Bank's loan financing arrangements to support the implementation of the Government's national Energy Policy 2009 - 2030.

According to Minister Robertson, the funds are central to the Ministry's programme of financial and technical support for ECE in all sectors. He informed that targets for energy use reduction for large commercial manufacturing enterprises are being established and some entities will be designated energy management facilities and will be required to appoint an energy manager, have updated energy audits, and implement a system of tracking and reporting energy use. Noting the challenges of accessing financing to undertake renewable and energy efficient solutions, Mr. Robertson said it was decided to work with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) in the effort. "The DBJ has tested procedures to select certified energy auditors and engineers, working with the Centre for Excellence for Renewable Energy, and the University of Technology (UTech)," he outlined. Additionally, he noted, the institution offers partial guarantee to deal with collateral issues and has experience working with multi-national and bi-lateral institutions. He advised that the DBJ has committed $700 million from the Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB) Agricultural Support Fund line of credit to enhance ECE within the farming sector and an additional $500 million to small and medium enterprises for similar pursuits. "I want to indicate that (for) all the initiatives and programmes, everybody is included and eligible.commercial and industry users, energy service companies, and manufacturers of energy efficiency equipment and devices," he said. He noted that the specific emphasis will be placed on electricity conservation, solar, wind and hydro energy.

The Capacity Building of Caribbean Private Sector Environmental and Energy Management Capabilities project is being jointly undertaken by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), based in Trinidad and Tobago. It will cost $82 million (790,818) pounds and will entail an assessment of the policy framework for energy and environmental management, relative to the private sector. The project will also establish practices at the firm level, with a view to developing action plans, mapping the way forward for the private and public sectors.