Responsible “Green” Travel to Jamaica
Sustainable Eco-Tourism in Jamaica
The Jamaican government recognizes the value of it’s natural biodiversity and has established over 200 protected areas on the island, as well as marine parks along the coast. Check them out at Jamaica’s Protected Areas page. The Jamaica Protected Areas Trust Limited (JPAT) is a public-private initiative that seeks to protect and enhance Jamaica’s natural resources and biodiversity – JPAT supports the effective management of the country’s protected areas.
The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) is a non-government organization whose mission is to promote environmental conservation and sustainable development, with particular emphasis on the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. and have implemented a number of projects to support their goals.
The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica provides funding for projects that deal with child development and environmental sustainability issues in Jamaica. Environmental grants have buttressed innovation in research and development as well as supported waste management, wetland and watershed management, biodiversity, disbursement of alternative energy and the establishment of community water systems.
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) are a non-profit, non-government membership organization focused on environmental education, advocacy and conservation – JET’s main projects include the Schools’ Environment Programme, an environmental education programme for students and teachers.
In terms of accommodations, Jamaica has the following “green” [SUST-ECO] options:
- Hotel Mockingbird Hill in Port Antonio
- Has received 21 International Awards related to the environment, including Green Globe Certification
- Their many environmentally friendly items/activities include: solar water-heating; use/offer no plastic bottles; Stationery in the guest rooms is made from recycled paper by a women’s cooperative in a nearby village; Toiletries in the bathrooms are also produced locally, count our food miles, have a carbon offsetting program; use renewable energy; Support local farmers for food supplies and even sponsor an art class for local employees turn recycled paper into art they can sell.
- Blue Mountain Wilderness Retreat and Camp Site, deep in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, is supervised by the Jamaica Forestry Department. The site’s lights are powered by solar energy, and rain water is collected and used.
- Zion Country Eco Beach Cabins is located on Long Rd in Portland. Rainwater provides for the bathrooms and showers, and the mini-resort recycles glass, paper, and plastic waste.
- Ambassabeth cabins, deep in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is retro-fitted with solar lights and a solar water heater, potable toilets and water gravity fed water from a local spring.
Sustainable Energy Production in Jamaica
Jamaica’s national renewable energy policy is targeting to have 30% of the country’s energy mix from renewable sources by 2030. The country is hoping to surpass that target. The policy also includes goals for energy conservation and efficiency.
Solar power generation activity to-date includes:
- ‘Solar Content’ in Clarendon, west of Kingston, the island’s first utility-scale solar PV energy plant has been operating since 2016 – The plant produces 20MW – Powering 20 thousand households
- The ‘Eight Rivers’ solar farm in Westmoreland, east of Negril, is expected to supply 37MW of power by the end of 2018
- The University of Technology in Kingston also has a 100kw solar PV system providing electricity to the university
- A project is currently under way to retrofit Community Access Points (CAP) across the island with solar panels in order to reduce costs, allowing for an increase in internet access for schools. A total of 257 CAP sites have been established across Jamaica
There are also several wind farms in Jamaica, located near the south-west coast between Negril and Kingston:
- The Wigton Wind farm is Jamaica’s largest, generating 62.7MW. This power plant was commissioned in three phases between 2004 and 2016 – Powering 31.5 thousand households.
- The BMR wind farm at Malvern commissioned 11 wind turbines in 2016 and is currently providing 36.3MW of power to the Jamaican electrical grid.
- The 4-turbine 3MW Munro Wind Farm was commissioned 2010 and is the first wind power plant to be owned by Jamaica’s power company JPS.
- Munro Collage, the secondary school in St. Elizabeth, also has a 225 kW wind turbine at work
- A feasibility study for offshore wind farms is expected to be completed in 2018
The installation of a hybrid energy storage system, to help manage the power from renewable resources, is also being explored.
JPS also has nine hydroelectric plants providing 29 MW of power.
Also note that in October of 2017, the Caribbean’s first ‘net zero’ energy building was opened at Kingston’s University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona Campus. A net zero building is one where the total amount of energy used by the building is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site.
The 2,300-square-foot structure, situated along Gibraltar Way, is designed as a model to encourage construction of sustainable and energy-efficient buildings throughout the region.
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Note: [SUST-ECO] signifies “Sustainable Eco-Tourism” as defined in our Sustainability page