I must admit – I felt a twinge of envy on hearing last year that Barbados had acquired 33 electric buses. Why can’t Jamaica move forward on this, I wondered? Globally, the electric vehicle market is surging ahead, especially in China, the United States and Europe. President Biden is pushing for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2030 although the US share of the market has been smaller, so far. For Jamaica, as we seek to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and improve our poor air quality, this is really good news from the IDB, and I look forward to us moving in a positive direction with this boost – and with alacrity. Here’s the IDB’s press release.
IDB and Jamaica launch plan to electrify vehicles
October 7, 2021 KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Government of Jamaica will partner to accelerate the use of electric vehicles through an ambitious initiative that includes funding an electric mobility ecosystem and technical assistance and training for battery electric technologies (BEVs). The initiative funds the continued development of an electric mobility ecosystem in the country by deploying BEVs within fleets, performing a feasibility study, developing models for procurement, and providing technical assistance and training on BEV technology.
The initiative will address emissions resulting from the large number of vehicles in Jamaica that are currently powered by fossil fuels; Jamaica’s transportation sector accounts for 37 percent of the country’s energy consumption and is a leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Building on the successful completion of the Strategic Framework for Electric Mobility, the IDB’s new initiative will support the Government of Jamaica and, by extension, the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology (MSET), in raising awareness of BEV benefits and mobilizing stakeholders to shape policies that will advance a vibrant BEV market in Jamaica.
IDB has a successful track record of supporting governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Barbados, by delivering robust technical expertise in defining national electric mobility policies and strategies, feasibility studies, pilot projects, and investments in institutional fleets and transport companies. The Government of Jamaica currently owns, operates, fuels, and maintains hundreds of institutional fleet vehicles in the service of its ministries and agencies. IDB, along with a consortium of partners including Xergy Energy, JAMECO, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and Cadmus, will support MSET with meeting the objective of its electric mobility agenda by implementing a fleet assessment and feasibility study and training pilot, which will be supported by a communications and awareness campaign.
IDB has engaged Xergy Energy, a BEV specialty consultant, to assess the business case and benefits of integrating BEVs into fleets. Xergy has worked extensively throughout the Caribbean on electric transportation projects such as fleet assessments and electric vehicle charging infrastructure and recently supported the Jamaica Public Service Company with a feasibility study to assess fleet vehicle electrification. “We are very pleased to continue supporting the Government of Jamaica in exploring and promoting new possibilities for electric mobility,” said Xavier Gordon, President of Xergy Energy. “Our collaborative partnerships and talented project team are primed to support the building out of the burgeoning BEV market in Jamaica.”
JAMECO, a commercial leasing company providing customized fleet management services for public and private customers in Jamaica, will be collaborating with Xergy on procurement and leasing of fleet vehicles deployed within fleets during the feasibility study. The final results of the feasibility assessment are anticipated to be released in September 2022.
Xergy Energy will partner with BCIT to train regulators, electrical inspectors, and customs personnel on standards and safety related to BEV technology and hold train-the-trainer sessions on how to service BEVs. Technical training workshops are expected to occur in October and November 2021.
The IDB will also lead a communications and outreach campaign in coordination with Xergy and Cadmus, a multidisciplinary consultancy headquartered in the USA providing international-leading expertise specific to the Caribbean, including electric mobility, transportation, renewable energy, and cost-benefit and feasibility analysis. The plan includes an education campaign about the benefits of transitioning to BEVs, such as reduced maintenance costs and improved performance compared to fossil fuel-powered vehicles, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which support a healthier environment. Updates on the project will be shared through the IDB’s energy blog at https://blogs.iadb.org/energia/en/.