The South Jamaica Power Company is the entity that will manage the construction and operation of the new power plant to be constructed in Old Harbour Bay. While JPS won the bid in December 2011, to build the 360MW LNG power plant, the utility has assigned the undertaking of the project to South Jamaica Power Company Limited – which has as its shareholders: Marubeni Corporation, East West Power Korea, JPS, and the Government of Jamaica.
On Wednesday evening, (November 14), the Company introduced itself to the Old Harbour Bay residents, and unveiled the Environmental Impact Assessment Report of the proposed development, in keeping with stipulations by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
The audience of nearly 800 residents listened with keen anticipation, with the question and answer session being dominated by the prospect of social benefits, including new jobs, skills training opportunities, and any possible health impacts on the community.
Managing Director of South Jamaica Power Company, Valentine Fagan explained to the audience, that the construction phase of the power plant will see the creation of 1,200 jobs – 800 unskilled, and 400 skilled positions – some of which are expected to be filled by residents from the surrounding community. The construction phase will also benefit the community, as South Jamaica Power will be partnering with the HEART Trust to deliver skills training programmes to residents who are selected to participate in the project. Further, once the power plant is complete, at least 70 permanent jobs will be created. The development is expected to result in increased economic activity in the community.
In terms of health impacts, residents expressed concerns about radiation, heat and any other potential ill-effects of the power plant. They were assured that radiation is not a consideration, nor is heat from the plant, nor noise nuisance. C.L. Environmental, which conducted the Environmental Impact Assessment – gave an exhaustive presentation on the likely impact of the plant, showing the proposed LNG plant to be environmentally friendly and safe.
According to NEPA’s guidelines, residents have up to 30 days after the Public Meeting, to submit in writing, any concerns or objections regarding this new development.