Can Jamaica afford not to include coal as a source of Primary Fuel?

Coal  is the most abundant and the cheapest form of primary fuel out there, so can a poor country like Jamaican ,who is seeking a competitive advantage, not afford to begin its industrial revolution with coal?

I expect the bleeding hearts and the environmentalist to point to China and suggest ” just look at China, is that we want Jamaica to become” ?

Electricity is considered to be a secondary source of energy and the one most widely used, but that energy must be derived from another source of energy eg oil, lng, biomass etc, hence the term primary and secondary sources of energy.

There are few industrialized countries around the world that does not have coal as part of their primary fuel source and these are the very countries from which we import billions of dollars of goods each year, with our scare foreign exchange.

There is no free lunch, Jamaica cannot and will never be able to compete on the international stage unless we are able to get electricity cost down to US$0.10 – $0.12 per kWh and we cannot get that with LNG or another other source of fuel but coal.

Now,  I will be the first to admit that there are disadvantages of using coal, environmental during the burning of the fuel and also the storage of spent fuel ( ash), which contains some toxic chemicals such are arsenic and mercury among others.

We therefore need to spend some time and analyse the situation before moving forward and as a country make a decision on what best suits the need of the country given our long-term development plan.

I will over the next few days present an analysis on the merits of using coal from a cost perspective and later on,  look at some of the health, safety and environmental concerns that are associated with the use of this fuel.

We have been talking about LNG now for over 10 yrs and as of today, June 16, 2014 at 4:25pm, we are no closer to having a cubic meter of LNG or a power plant.

Hold your horse folks, don’t start barking as yet, let’s look at the numbers.




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