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“Fiya deh a muss-muss tail, ‘im tink a cool breeze” Growing up in the uplands of Trelawny, Jamaica, I have been immersed in a daily dosage of Jamaican proverbs which are considered the second language of the area; this by far is one of my favorite. Many share the view that an IMF deal might be Jamaica’s solution to the islands economic woes, but nothing could be further from the truth. Until the day our blessed nation has a solid strategy that will increase growth, production and development to reduce its debt instead of borrowing its way out, our economy will remain unstable. An IMF Deal is a burning “Fiya under the muss muss tail”, we can use this fire to build a solid platform to stabilize our economy. Generating electrical energy from the “cool breeze” off the coast of the island will reduce oil import bill while providing jobs and a reliable source of renewable energy to efficiently power our daily activities. Trending down this path will put the wind to work for our economy and make its contribution to our country as we harness the benefits and revenues from a solid renewable energy portfolio.
|An European offshore wind farm|
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Wind turbines are devices used to harness electrical energy from the wind, a wind farm is a collection of these wind turbines and an offshore wind farm are turbines located in the sea and used to generate reliable electricity from sustained offshore winds. An offshore wind farm is Jamaica’s most economical medium term renewable energy solution since it provides room for constant expansion and utilizes the strong, sustained Caribbean sea breeze. Developing such an energy source will be a solid investment to permanently reduce the cost of energy in the medium term and a great avenue to show the direction of the country coming out of the 48 months IMF agreement. This will demonstrate that our island has the capacity to work its way out of debt and provide the additional energy needed especially in light of the recent collapse of the 360MW LNG project.
While undertaking my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering at the University of Technology, Jamaica I embarked on a research to study the feasibility of developing an offshore wind farm off the south coast of the island. This research was placed 3rd in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) Student Technical Paper Competition in Nashville Tennessee, March 2011. It has since been published in an IEEE Journal late last year. This research revealed that the Caribbean has the third strongest offshore wind profile globally. The only other regions with stronger offshore winds are the northern and southern extra tropics which are predominantly uninhabitable. This means that due to our geographic location, the Caribbean has a more reliable and more sustained offshore wind speed which would equate to more electricity generated daily by a Jamaican offshore wind farm. The Caribbean’s wind profile is primarily due to the presence of a large undisturbed body of water (the Caribbean Sea) off the island’s south coast and since there are no hills, no mountains and no valleys to disturb the wind pattern or to reduce the wind speed this makes energy generation much more efficient offshore than on land. Another major benefit of an offshore wind farm is the accessibility to space for future expansions. The sea is virtually limitless and with growing technology that allows you to install the turbines in the sand, or allow them to float miles off the coast, wherever there is wind there can be a turbine generating clean, reliable electrical power out at sea and connecting it back to the coast for residents’ consumption.
How will we achieve 100% Renewable Jamaica
|Undertaking my summer internship at the largest wind farm in the English Speaking Caribbean|
When and Where to start
In an earnest bid to discover a viable renewable energy alternative our government has recently invested just over US$1million to conduct a feasibility study for hydropower at five sites across the island. This is a step in the right direction to providing an energy mix and a timely solution to the collapse Liquid Natural Gas project. An offshore wind farm off the south coast of Manchester, as proposed in the internationally awarded research, would provide the 360MW of energy needed with only 72 wind turbines rated at 5MW each. A verification of our offshore sand and gravel deposits done by Robinson and Rowe, UWI Mona, 2007 showed that the area had 90% Carbonate Sand which is ideal and highly stable for mounting the 5MW wind turbines. The depth of the water was virtually measured with the help of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute. The measurements revealed that the existing depth of the sea bed for the proposed site, is relatively shallow compared to other offshore wind farms globally, and so would result in a reduced cost for mounting turbines at this site when compared to mounting turbines in deeper waters offshore.
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God caused the LNG project to fail for a reason, gas like fossil fuel will not be cheap forever and even though it presents itself as a cheaper option we are in urgent need of long term permanent solutions that will contribute to our economical and environmental stability, neither of which LNG would afford. A 360MW offshore wind farm would stand as the 2ndlargest in the world and the first of its kind in the western hemisphere. The thought of being the first should not intimidate our nation was among the first countries in the world to receive electricity in 1892 and our very own Wigton Wind Farm Ltd is the largest onshore wind farm in the English Speaking Caribbean. Wind energy can cool the IMF “fiya unda di muss-muss tail” if we strategically plan our way forward and leave out of this deal with something to show for the rough economical days ahead. Wind technology is currently cheaper than any other form of energy in Australia and is trending in the same direction in Germany. Neither of these two countries possesses a solid offshore wind profile like that of our small but powerful Caribbean island. This won’t happen overnight but as was evident when large corporation stepped forward to support the NDX, the average Jamaican will support a solid renewable energy initiative that will permanently lower the cost of energy in the medium term. It is time for our mighty island to lead the way, to take the stand, to create the global model by placing wind turbines offshore in the sand. Above all it’s time for Jamaica to take another step in playing her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.This post was prepared as part of the Blogboutdat Campaign, an initiative of the Jamaica Blog awards (JBA). The JBA partnered with several foundations who provided topics for local bloggers to choose from. My topic was contributed by Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and is provided here in its original format: Jamaica is on the verge of signing another IMF agreement. Write a post suggesting a sustainable alternative to this deal. Suggest how young people might contribute to solving the nation’s economic crisis.