IDB and Jamaica sign US$40 million loan for energy management and efficiency program

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the government of Jamaica signed a US$40 million loan agreement on Friday, November 10, to finance an energy management and efficiency program (EMEP).

The EMEP financing programme includes US$30 million for comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits in 30 government-owned buildings and the installation of LED lighting in another 50 structures. The energy efficiency program will be undertaken in schools, hospitals and public agencies, and will help cut the government’s electricity bill by US$7 million annually.

The EMEP financing will also support energy planning and management and contribute to the government of Jamaica’s comprehensive program of efficiency improvement and energy diversification. The EMEP is an import component of the Jamaican government’s broader efforts to provide high-quality, affordable, environmentally friendly energy and reduce the country’s dependence on high-cost imported oil.

Therese Turner-Jones, the general manager for the IDB’s Caribbean Country Department, stated at the EMEP signing ceremony, “Today is a great moment, because it not just focuses on energy efficiency and bringing US$7 million worth of savings to your budget every year because of the retrofits, we see this as just one really small component in terms of what the bigger energy plan and policy is for the country.”

Another important objective of the energy efficiency program is to make transportation smart and more efficient. Jamaica’s transportation sector consumes 30 percent of all oil imports and makes a significant contribution to the country’s overall CO2 emissions.

The EMEP loan earmarks US$3.5 million for the implementation of a universal transport management system (UTMS), which includes telematics to help model, plan, operate and monitor traffic flows along Kingston’s major arteries. The EMEP loan will also fund training and coaching to Jamaica’s National Works Agency staff to operate and maintain these systems. These measures will reduce congestion, curtail air pollution, save fuel, and ameliorate the low productivity attributable to gridlocked streets.

The US$40 million loan is being co-financed by the IDB, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the European Union Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF). The IDB is providing the first tranche of US$15 million, which will be matched by JICA. The EU-CIF is providing US$10 million in grant funding.

At the EMEP signing ceremony, Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s minister of finance and public services, summarized the importance of this innovative programme, “The government of Jamaica greatly appreciates the support of all three represented funding partners, the IDB, the embassy of Japan, and the European Union, in the major areas of infrastructural development, particularly in energy efficiency and renewable energy applications.”

“The finalization of the agreement with the IDB is a strong indicator of the commitment of the bank to the sustainable economic development of Jamaica. The government of Jamaica is confident that the mutually beneficial partnership arrangements with the IDB will continue to grow significantly,” Shaw added.

The EMEP loan will produce concrete outcomes that serve to improve lives in Jamaica, which goes to the heart of the IDB’s vision. As the leading development partner in Jamaica for almost 50 years, the IDB is committed to improving lives by creating vibrant sustainable economies where people are safe, productive and happy. The EMEP loan signing is another decisive step towards realizing that vision.

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