The country will have to wait more than three years before the proposed 115 megawatts (MW) of energy from renewable sources is added to the national grid.
The introduction of the renewable energy should cut Jamaica's oil bill substantially (US$55 million at current prices) but the three-year wait will mean a painful delay for Jamaicans desperate for lower electricity bills.
The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) last week accepted 28 proposals for the development of projects aimed at generating the renewable energy.
The submissions, from 20 local and overseas companies, were revealed during a public opening of bid documents last Monday.
The proposals included two for wind projects, one for biomass, and 25 for solar energy.
Eight of the proposals were received from local companies.
The bidders include the local entities Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ); Wigton Windfarm Limited; Blue Mountain Renewables, and BNRG Renewables Jamaica.
In its proposal, the PCJ submitted a 20.98-megawatt photovoltaic solar-generating project at a cost of approximately US$63.16 million.
Wigton Windfarm submitted a proposal for a 24-megawatt wind energy power generation project, at a cost of US$45 million.
Blue Mountain Renewables submitted a 34-megawatt wind power generation project for approximately US$77 million.
The overseas investors include Wirsol AG and Roc Energy, which have tendered a proposal for a 78-megawatt solar park power generation project at a cost of some US$140 million; and New York-based entity, Roraima Consulting Incorporated, which submitted a bid for a 24-megawatt solar power generating project, at a cost of approximately US$59 million.
Project manager at the OUR, Peter Johnson, said the high level of interest in supply renewable energy was very encouraging.
“We are hoping that these proposals will actually bear fruit and that we will get some good solutions out of (them),” stated Johnson.
“This is the first tranche of that and we're very excited with what we have seen.”
According to Johnson, with the bids in hands, the OUR will now move towards the evaluation processes, which should be completed by August 5.
“The evaluation will look at the best proposals in terms of the best reliability, the best price (and) will also look to see if one proposal or a combination of proposals will best fit the needs of the country.”
The highest-ranked applications will be notified on September 11, with the OUR looking to complete the negotiation of project agreements by June 18, 2014.
The selected applicants are expected to post their performance security deposit by June 28, 2014, and begin construction in August 2014.
The proposed commissioning date of the new renewable energy plant is August 2016.
A request for proposals was issued by the OUR in November 2012, when it invited interested entities to submit bids for the supply of up to 115MW of renewable energy electricity generation to the national grid on a 'Build, Own and Operate' basis.