Krishna Vaswani, a geographer and businessman, intends to raise $4 million dollars to finance the construction of a $15 million geothermal power plant. Jamaica currently obtains almost all of its electricity from fossil-fueled and hydroelectric power plants, and most of that is from fossil-fueled power plants. This is one of multiple geothermal projects in the Caribbean.
According to JPS, the main supplier of electricity in Jamaica, fuel-oil burning steam power plants account for most of the electricity generation capacity. Jamaica’s Independent Power Producers, including JPS, have an electricity generation capacity of 820 MW (820,000 kW, or 820 million watts) with peak electricity demand averaging 650 MW.
This geothermal power plant is slated to have an electricity generation capacity of 15 MW. The cost of electricity was estimated to be a wide range of $0.09 kWh to $0.15 kWh. Whichever it is, it is far cheaper than the $0.40 USD per kWh that residents in Jamaica usually have to pay, and far cleaner.
“The return on investment (ROI) would be less than a year. The nature of this project the ROI would be amongst the best in the world,” said Krishna Vaswani. “Over the six minutes I spoke we would have generated over US$12,000.”
If the above statement is correct, it would be a very sound investment for a country that is in a poor economic situation.
A Step Towards Energy Independence and Economic Stability
Jamaica does not produce its own oil. However, the geothermal heat that this proposed power plant requires is right there in Jamaica, and the cost of geothermal energy does not spike and plummet as oil prices do.
Geothermal power plants operate by using heat from extremely hot rocks in the Earth’s crust to boil a fluid, such as water to produce steam, which then drives a steam turbine.
Due to the fact that electricity plays such an important role in the production of goods and services in Jamaica, obtaining it from a fuel with a widely fluctuating price such as oil causes uncertainty about electricity costs, and electric bill spikes can cause economic shock.
Credit: Jamaica Gleaner