At the moment, the energy sector and its infrastructure in Jamaica are not planned for the long term. The new strategy proposes to consider changes in energy consumption over the next 20 years. Capacities will be created to enable the transmission of large amounts of energy. This will help reduce the cost of renewal and innovation. Additionally, it will positively affect the satisfaction of the population and urbanization development.
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The energy sector is rapidly transforming and, in the case of Jamaica, requires close attention. Currently, no sufficient infrastructure investment planning is presented by the government suggesting high costs arising in a long-term perspective. To create a more sustainable energy supply, the forces of the wind and solar systems begin to be used, which sometimes are not reliable in contrast to the supply of energy in standard ways, which are more stable. The energy sector in Jamaica is still not sustainable, but rather profit oriented if considering high levels of CO2 and The Jamaica Public Service Company holding monopoly in the energy supply sector and governing the price regulations (Harrison & Popke, 2018). Urbanization is not promoted and the income gap is high, therefore providing energy resources to the rural areas is costly and ineffective.
Current problems identification:
- Inefficient system in a long-term perspective;
- Lack of long-term planning;
- Monopolization of the sector.
Courses of Action
It is possible to create an economically sustainable energy sector with the application of the specified strategy. Urbanization will help to reduce the difference in income. Additionally, shifting people to developed areas will create energy availability and accessibility, and improve the infrastructure. Technologies are increasingly involved in people’s lives, many of which are dependent on electricity. Basic energy consumption in daily life also increases. Infrastructure needs to be planned considering the increase in demand. Therefore, long-term infrastructure investment planning strategy is suggested and can be supported by urbanization.
Not only short-term planning of infrastructure for increasing the sustainability of the energy sector is required, but also long-term, as the trend of increasing energy demand is monitored over the years. It is important to consider the utilities production capacity, as well as the renewal of energy supply structures, their availability in various locations. Urbanization will optimize the required capacity and distribution of the main energy sources used for transportation, residential, industrial, and commercial purposes.
A long-term investment strategy for the development of infrastructure in large cities is proposed. The strategy includes investments in energy sources, considering the increase in capacity over the next 20 years. Demands for energy consumption are increasing and replacement of energy suppliers is costly. Therefore, it is necessary to plan for an increase in energy consumption for the long-term perspective. Considering the consumption increase, power plans with high transmission capacity need to be constructed.
There is a significant difference between the proposed energy planning and the short term, since if only the changes within one year or smaller period are considered, the policies and plans will require annual or periodical changes. This will entail higher costs for energy providers, and consequently higher prices for consumers. It is also not efficient as it requires annual, monthly or quarterly planning and financial, time and labor investments to renew sources with increased energy transmission.
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Current Policies and Changes
The only presented governmental plan considering the long-term investment in energy infrastructure is dated by 2010. This plan indicates that an increase in transmission power is required, but does not provide a detailed analysis and specific steps to improve existing suppliers or create new ones. Jamaica’s National Energy Policy dated by 2009 also highlights the plans to improve the performance of the energy sector by 2030. The suggested plan will support Jamaica’s National Energy Policy in the development of the energy sector and will consider a longer perspective since it was developed 10 years later.
The new policy for the 20 years investment plan will consider the economic, social and environmental factors for the impacts and risks. From the economic point of view, this strategy is optimal, since it includes planning that should minimize costs in the long term. The initial cost of the investment in building new power plants will be higher when compared to an investment based on short term planning. The costs of such investment for small countries can be equal to the GDP but profitable in the long-term consideration (El-Ashram, 2017). As the suggested investment is covering the next 20 years, it will be several times less costly than the constant replacement and renovation
From the social perspective, this should become a positive factor for the population, giving people the opportunity to consume the required amount of energy with increasing demands. Additionally, it should stabilize prices for energy transmission, which will affect the pricing policy of companies, and accordingly, will also be convenient for consumers. Since the long-term planning initiative will come from the state, it will also increase the satisfaction of the residents with the governance.
At the same time, it is worth noting that there are threats from technological development. Due to the rapid emergence of new technologies and methods, the ways of transmitting energy can change over the course of several years. In this case, investments in new options will be required again. To prevent this risk, engineers should be involved in planning of constructing plants for technical solutions, and economists for plan the volume of investments. Thus, the created power plants will not be aimed at modernization, taking into account 20 years of development, but only at increasing the transmission power with an increase in demand. In this way, the new transmitters will be flexible to technological change.
For the new proposal to be successful, it is important to take into consideration all the points presented during the planning and presentation of the plan to the public. The strategy should be economically viable, accepted and supported by the community and include the consideration of technological advancements. Even though the main goal of the plan is to reduce renovation costs over 20 years, it is important to consider the impact of the strategy on other areas of life and on the energy sector itself. The development of technologies and their extensive application leads to high energy consumption levels, therefore, an increase in transmissions will support technological development trends. It is important to convey to the population the importance of this strategy and governmental investments, which will not have an immediate effect, but will become profitable over a long period. Additionally, when increasing the transmission of energy, it is also important to convey to the population the importance of understanding the limited resources of the planet, and, accordingly, conscious consumption. To develop the details of the strategy, it is necessary to involve industry experts who can assess the opportunities and risks and propose the best option for increasing the transmission capacity in the long-term perspective.
El-Ashram, A. (2017). Public investment scaling-up and debt sustainability: The case of energy sector investments in the Caribbean. International Monetary Fund.
Harrison, C., & Popke, J. (2018). Geographies of renewable energy transition in the Caribbean: Reshaping the island energy metabolism. Energy research & social science, 36, 165-174. Web.