Breathing a huge sigh of relief over this announcement yesterday! The possibility of a coal-powered plant that Mining Minister Mike Henry announced would be built at the aluminium plant in Nain, St. Elizabeth has been hanging over our heads for over a year now. A coal power plant would have been a nightmare for Jamaica’s air quality as well as for the soil and other major public health impacts; and would have thrown our climate change mitigation plans (and credibility) out of the window. I detailed many of the harmful impacts of coal in a series of blog posts last year. I’m so happy I don’t have to tweet and blog about #SayNOtoCoalJA any more!
November 3, 2017
JET Welcomes Decision to Use LNG for Nain Aluminium Refinery Power Plant
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is welcoming yesterday’s announcement by Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, that the Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company Limited (JISCO) aluminium refinery in Nain, St Elizabeth will be using Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as the source of energy for its new power plant, and not coal as was previously stated. The announcement comes exactly one year after Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) reported that more than 21,000 people had signed a petition requesting that the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) refuse a proposal to construct a 1000MW coal-fired plant in Nain, St Elizabeth to power the JISCO refinery.
Diana McCaulay, CEO of JET, welcomed the news which she acknowledged as a victory for Jamaicans. “It is heartening to see that the concerns of Jamaica’s citizens were considered during the decision-making process for the new facility. This move is a win for public health and the climate and will hopefully usher in a new era of careful consideration for environmental concerns,” she said.
Between October 14 and November 1 last year, JET ran a #SayNOtoCoalJA campaign following Minister Henry’s announcement of the sale of the old ALPART bauxite plant in Nain, St. Elizabeth to Jiquan Iron & Steel Company Limited (JISCO) and a US$2 billion investment in an industrial zone, powered by a 1000MW coal-fired plant.
The #SayNOtoCoalJA campaign focused on the environmental and public health risks posed by the proposed coal plant, and included an online petition hosted by change.org.
The petition called on the Government of Jamaica to refuse the proposal to power the new plant using coal and abide by its commitment to the Paris Agreement of December 2015, which required of all countries a phased reduction of Greenhouse Gases. JET also called on the GOJ to continue the transition to new energy sources, as outlined in documents such as Vision 2030 and the National Energy Policy of 2009. Among JET’s recommendations were the use of LNG, a transitional fuel, as an alternative to coal.
JET now asks that the Government of Jamaica provide additional information as to exactly what is planned for the new facility as soon as possible.