Energy profile: Jamaica
Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)
Oil and natural gas continue to supply most of Jamaica's energy, supplemented by significantly smaller contributions from renewables. As of 2020, 89% of electricity was still generated by fossil fuels. In response to the Paris Agreement, Jamaica pledged that renewables would comprise 20% of the national energy mix by 2030. In 2018, Prime Minister Andrew Holness increased the country's 2030 target for renewable electricity generation from 30% to 50%. Jamaica is currently following the National Energy Policy 2009-2030.
Greenhouse gas emissions targets
Jamaica's December 2020 update to its NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25% relative to business as usual levels by 2030, with the majority of reductions coming from the energy sector. This represents a significant upwards revision from the 7.8% to 10% GHG reduction called for in Jamaica's original NDC.
Government energy agencies & other key players
National energy ministry
MSET (Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology) is the government institution responsible for energy.
JPS (Jamaica Public Service Company Limited) is the national electrical energy company.
National oil company
The PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) is the state-owned company responsible for exploration, development, and management of Jamaica's oil and petroleum resources.
Energy sector employment data
As of 2020, 16.23% of Jamaicans worked in the industrial sector, which includes mining, quarrying, manufacturing, construction, electricity, gas, and water. MSET aims to train young Jamaicans to work in the energy sector, particularly with renewables.
As of 2019, Jamaica's installed electrical capacity was 1150 MW, supplied primarily by fossil fuels (83.64%), followed by wind (8.87%), solar (4.96%) and hydro power (2.53%).
In 2019, Jamaica generated 4433 GWh of electricity; fossil fuels were the main energy source (89.33%), supplemented by smaller contributions from wind (6.14%), hydro (3.50%), and solar power (1.04%). More than a quarter (26.5%) of Jamaica's electrical output is lost through poor transmission and distribution infrastructure.
In 2018, the peak demand was 655 MW, and 97% of the population had access to electricity.
In 2016, Jamaica consumed 2.847 billion kWh.
Coal in Jamaica
Jamaica has no coal reserves and does not produce coal. Historically it has imported coal, but other fuels such as natural gas are gaining ground, and proposed coal plants, such as Jamalco Power Station, have been repurposed due to concerns over coal usage.
Oil & Natural Gas in Jamaica
Jamaica does not produce crude oil. The state-owned Petrojam refinery produced 24,250 barrels per day of refined petroleum products in 2017. Jamaica was not producing natural gas as of 2017.
Imports & source countries
In 2015, Jamaica recorded daily imports of 24,360 barrels of crude oil and 30,580 barrels of refined petroleum products.
Proposed new sources & projects
Offshore oil explorations have opened up a new market in Jamaica as evaluations have revealed the potential for more than 2.4 billion barrels of oil. The United Kingdom's United Oil & Gas holds a license for 11 prospects and leads for offshore gas in Jamaica's territorial waters.
Renewable Energy in Jamaica
JPS is diversifying its electrical generation into solar and wind projects. MSET is focusing on energy diversification and has authorized individual residences and businesses to generate electricity for their own use. Government officials who support renewable energy cite its potential to protect Jamaica from external economic shocks.
Iron & Steel in Jamaica
Jamaica has small deposits of iron ore, but the mining industry is much more focused on other minerals.
Environmental activists raised concerns in 2020 about the adequacy of the Jamaican government's climate plan, notably with how it does not address forest protection and deforestation. Younger Jamaicans tend to be involved in environmental activism, particularly those who understand the impacts of climate change on agriculture and rural youth. Activists are pushing for large solar farms, electric vehicles, and mangrove restoration. The Jamaican government continues to approve controversial mining permits despite rejection by state conservation authorities.
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