Jamaica has a serious energy problem that for some strange reason keeps on getting ignored. With the public at large bawling about JPS bills and manufacturing rates still at anemic levels, how can we change this, how can we be energy independent?
We can start by investing in alternative energy. Building the long proposed hydroelectric dam would go a long way towards easing the burden on fuel imports once it is complete and would lead to massive employment as a spinoff during the construction phase.
Another way in which we can move towards self sufficiency is by upgrading all the gas powered facilities at JPS. Upgrading them to burn cheaper, cleaner and less volatile LNG also would do miracles to reducing our collective light bills and may become more of a reality if the oil and gas explorations off our coasts are successful.
Converting our dumps to landfills would also be a brilliant move towards the goal of energy independence. With the talk of using the Riverton landfill as a source of energy I ask why end it there? Converting dumps to landfills would mean more access to cheap, readily available renewable energy, if that is done then that has the potential to save millions of U.S. dollars.
However the main thing that would wean us off oil and give us some semblance of energy independence is our sugarcane.
As most people know by now sugarcane byproducts can be used for biofuels, if the government were to target and invest in biofuels while mandating that only cars compatible with biofuels be imported then that would not only deal a death blow to our reliance on oil but also save the sugar industry.
What I propose is not novel or new, it is sheer common sense. With a new government and a smart looking cabinet we wait and see if any of these will be implemented, if they are the JLP may be viewed well historically, if not however, then they condemn themselves and the nation collectively to the dustbin of history.