The high cost of energy in Jamaica, one of the highest in the Caribbean region, is usually cited as a hindrance to industrial development and efficiency, especially in the manufacturing sector. High energy cost is also considered to be a national energy security issue and the government is taking steps to ensure adequate supply of energy at affordable prices. In the current National Development Plan, the government has set a target for renewable energy sources to supply 20% of the country s energy need by the year 2030. Using a linear programming model of energy planning, we examine how realistically this target could be achieved. Our findings indicate that the 20% renewable energy target is technically achievable with the optimal plan showing a mixture of wind power, hydropower and bagasse power but no solar power. However, when the timeline for investment in new generating capacities that will ensure the attainment of the target is considered, it becomes highly improbable that the target will be met. This study fills the gap that exists in evidence-based analysis of energy policy in Jamaica.
energy planning, energy policy, renewable energy, linear programming, evidence-based policy analysis, Jamaica