In 2010, the National Irrigation Commission Limited (NIC) with the support from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) submitted a Technical Assistance Request under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas’ (ECPA) Caribbean Initiative. This initiative is managed and implemented by Organization of American States’ Department of Sustainable Development (OAS/DSD) through grants received from the United States Government to provide short term technical assistance to support the commercialization of government endorsed renewable energy projects in the Caribbean.
The project titled, “Wind Powered Irrigation Project – Jamaica”, engaged the OAS/DSD together with the NIC, MSTEM and other local partners in conducting a wind resource analysis in Spur Tree area of Manchester to determine the feasibility of installing wind turbines to power the NIC’s deep-well pumps.
Specific activities included:
- Conducting a wind resource analysis over a period of twelve (12) months in order to determine the wind potential sufficient to establish a wind farm for generating electricity;
- From this wind analysis, determine the number, size, and type of wind turbine(s) that are needed to generate the desired power; and
- Prepare a proposal for implementation of the recommendations.
For the execution of the wind resource analysis, the NIC identified and engaged with the Alternative Energy Group, Department of Physics at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Digicel Jamaica, and Wigton Wind Farm Limited for the provision of technical services, access to tower, and guidance to the initiative.
After completion of the 12-month primary wind data collection campaign in June of 2014 under supervision by UWI, a Wind Assessment of the Newark Spur Tree site was performed and submitted to the NIC. Upon request by the OAS/DSD, a due diligence process was executed in order to verify that the wind resource data analysis was in line with industry standards. This due diligence process included the review and interpretation of the primary wind data series, and the use of advanced statistics to generate long-term wind quality and availability projections in order to assess the wind energy yield of the potential multi-megawatt wind turbines to be installed at the Newark Spur Tree site.
A key and unique feature to this project is the potential to become one of the first national renewable energy projects to use the power wheeling mechanism that is under review for by the Office of Utilities Regulation.