BMR Inaugurates Jamaica’s Largest Private Sector Wind Farm
BMR Energy LLC celebrated the start of operations of its 36 megawatt wind farm in Jamaica, the country’s largest private-sector renewable energy project. With support from The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Canada, the BMR Jamaica Wind Project will help diversify the country’s energy matrix and ease the dependence on imported fossil fuels. Located about 90 km west of Kingston, the wind farm is expected to reduce greenhouse gases by about 66,000 tons CO2 equivalent per year, roughly equivalent to taking 13,000 cars off the road.
“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the start-up of our new, state-of-the-art wind generation facility and are thankful for all of the support we have received from the Government of Jamaica, the local community and our lenders,” said Bruce Levy, president and principal of BMR Energy. “We look forward to providing a source of clean, low cost energy to Jamaica for years to come"
The wind farm was made possible through a US$62.7 million financing package, including a US$42.7 million senior loan from OPIC, a US$10 million senior loan from IFC, and a US$10 million loan from the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program. BMR Energy provided an equity investment of US$26.9 million.
Fuel imports account for more than 90 percent of Jamaica’s energy needs and are greater than all of Jamaica’s exports combined. This dependence has led to high electricity prices, which create a burden on the economy. Like many of its Caribbean neighbors, Jamaica is vulnerable to the environmental impacts associated with fossil-fuel usage, such as rising sea levels, coral bleaching and changes in the frequency of tropical storms.
“We are delighted to see BMR Energy embark on the inauguration of this critical energy project,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “BMR Energy exemplifies the transformative impact that can result from private-sector development and OPIC is proud to have supported a project that is strengthening Jamaica’s renewable energy sector.”
“Modernizing and diversifying Jamaica’s power sector is critical to its economy,” said Luc Grillet, IFC Senior Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “The BMR wind farm supports Jamaica’s goals for ramping up renewable energy and transitioning to a cleaner, more efficient energy matrix. This helps the country’s competitiveness while having a positive impact on climate change.”
The BMR Jamaica Wind project will serve an estimated 15,000 customers annually. Its 11 Vestas wind turbines are expected to generate 120,000 megawatts per year, roughly equivalent to 3 percent of Jamaica’s current energy demand. Power from the project will be sold to the Jamaica Public Service Company, under a 20-year power purchase agreement. This electricity is expected to be among the lowest cost sources of power available on the JPS system.
“Reducing dependence on fossil fuels is a significant part of the climate change solution. The Government of Canada is proud to support Jamaica through this ambitious and effective initiative that will help them to secure a clean, reliable and affordable energy future,” said the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Blending concessional funds from Canada alongside IFC’s own commercial funds helped make the financing package viable and demonstrate the viability of private sector wind power in Jamaica, thus paving the way for long-term commercial investors.
About BMR Energy
BMR Energy, LLC was founded in 2013 to develop, invest in and manage clean energy infrastructure projects throughout the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. The company is owned by its management, experienced energy development professionals, and American Capital Ltd. The BMR team brings more than 60 years of combined international energy infrastructure development and operational experience.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker’s rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.opic.gov
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
About the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program
The IFC-Canada Climate Change Program promotes private sector financing for clean energy projects and received funding under Canada’s fast-start financing to catalyze investments in renewable, low-carbon technologies that would not otherwise happen. The Government of Canada is committed to support climate change action and will deliver $2.65 billion between 2015 and 2020 to support developing countries’ transition to low carbon economies and adapt to the impacts of climate change. For more information on Canada’s investment in global climate change action, visit http://climatechange.gc.ca/finance
For more information on Canada’s investment in global climate change action, visit http://climatechange.gc.ca/finance
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