Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), which will celebrate 100 years as an entity next year, has said that the company is focusing on powering electrical vehicles (EVs), technology upgrades and renewables.
“We are committing to build on the rich legacy of powering innovation. We are undergoing significant transformation in our business. We are putting in the necessary technologies to integrate more renewable energy as we are very serious about green and sustainable development. That is why we invested in what was the largest hybrid battery flywheel storage system in the world at the time.
“We are introducing new ways of serving our customers in an increasingly digital world. At JPS, we are not just about generating and distributing electricity. We are about leading an energy revolution to unleash Jamaica’s growth and prosperity,” Chief Operating Officer Gary Barrow said at last Friday’s launch of the occupational standards for electric hybrid vehicles and the training of first responders at Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston.
According to Barrow, the vision for the power company in leading the energy revolution is being powered by its willingness to “boldly go where no one has gone before”, which is why a couple years ago when it announced it would be building charging stations, many persons were confounded because there was just a hand full of electric cars on Jamaica’s roads. Things have changed since with the number of easy-to-use ‘Charge N Go’ stations it has established across the island and which it intends to more than double by next year.
“This, because we believe in a sustainable future, where electric vehicles not only dominate our roads, but one where Jamaica leads this hemisphere in the EV industry – from manufacturing and assembly, to maintenance, servicing, software development, logistics to name a few. Just imagine 10 years from now walking through an industrial park seeing electric vehicles being assembled for export by skilled Jamaicans working around the clock to meet the demand. I believe this could be a real game changer for us and the window of opportunity is now.”
Meanwhile, deputy chairman of JPS Foundation, Ramsay McDonald, said it is clear that electrification will play an important role in the transformation of the transportation industry, locally and globally. He noted that Government had already started to convert a portion of the public sector fleet to EVs, but the private sector is also actively preparing for an increase in the take-up of EVs.
“The electric future is definitely here and a complete ecosystem is needed to make the transition to EVs successful, from automobile dealers to financiers, training institutions, entrepreneurs, and charging station operators. That’s the type of partnership we are building through Project eDrive. That’s the type of partnership that is needed to facilitate and support the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
Project eDrive is a natural fit for the JPS Foundation which is the executing agency, according to McDonald, as it aligns perfectly with their areas of focus, since at its core the project is about reducing the negative environmental impact caused by regular internal combustion engine vehicles. He added that electric mobility is fairly new and brings with it many opportunities for innovation, science and technology education, and training.
Chairman of the eDrive Project Steering Committee, Dionne Nugent, said the JPS Foundation and Inter-American Development Bank Lab are collaborating in a three-year project called ‘Building a Sustainable Electric Mobility Ecosystem for Inclusion and Access’, which has been rebranded Project eDrive.
This project, she added, symbolises partnership and cooperation between both organisations, to influence the transition and transformation of sectors critical to national development in a sustainable manner. In this case, the objective is to improve the nexus between the power and transport sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Jamaica is now taking decisive action to create a similar success in the transport sector by replacing internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles, a strategy globally considered as one of the best consumer and behavioural change approaches to reduce CO2 emissions and fight climate change.
“The primary aim of the eDrive project is to create an enabling environment for a sustainable electric mobility ecosystem. The project’s emphasis is on capacity-building and training, and creating opportunities for small and medium enterprises and their employees in the EV value chain. The outcomes of this project will be transformational for the average Jamaican. It will ensure a heightened awareness of electric vehicles by the public and an understanding of the support systems available, and the associated entrepreneurial opportunities,” she assured the audience.
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