Energy provider Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has inked a deal with New Fortress Energy for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply to fuel the 120 MW Bogue power plant in Montego Bay in western Jamaica.

The plant entered service in 2003 and is being converted to burn natural gas instead of automotive diesel oil.

“JPS has worked since 2012 to procure gas as part our fuel diversification strategy,” said CEO Kelly Tomblin. “We are fortunate that we can now take advantage of technology related to gas shipments and supportive U.S. policies that allow the export of gas to non-FTA [free trade agreement] countries.

New Fortress Energy is part of Fortress Investment Group and supplies energy, logistical services and financing to end-users seeking to convert their operating assets from diesel or heavy fuel oil to natural gas.

Fortress Investment affiliate American LNG Marketing LLC was recently granted U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) authorization to export containerized U.S. LNG to non-FTA countries, including Jamaica (see Daily GPI, Aug. 7). American LNG is developing LNG liquefaction facilities in Florida with the product intended for containerized export.

“This agreement opens the door to a new era of energy diversity and independence for Jamaica and its citizens, enabling the region to benefit from cost-effective, stable supplies of U.S. natural gas,” said Fortress Investment founder Wes Edens. “Our vision extends far beyond Bogue. This will be the catalyst to establish Jamaica as an energy hub for the Caribbean and Latin America. Jamaica’s the ideal location to execute on this vision, and we intend to invest significantly in energy, port and logistics infrastructure on the island.”

In April, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz signed an agreement with Jamaica’s energy minister Phillip Paulwell at the U.S.-CARICOM summit in Mona, Jamaica, to support the island’s fuel diversification efforts. “We believe that Jamaica could be a part of [an LNG export] hub because of our geographic location, in proximity to places like Haiti and other areas in the western Caribbean,” Paulwell said, according to video of the summit provided by the government’s Jamaica Information Service (see Daily GPI, April 13).

Infrastructure work is to begin now to allow gas deliveries to Bogue by early next year, JPS said.

“The move to cleaner fuels and more flexible generation will reduce our environmental footprint by allowing Jamaica to optimize our use of renewables while we simultaneously reduce emissions from our baseload generation,” Tomblin said.

JPS is Jamaica’s leading producer of energy and the only electricity distributor on the island. It serves 600,000 customers and has a peak demand of slightly under 650 MW. JPS is owned by Marubeni Corp. of Japan, Korea East West Power, the Government of Jamaica, and a small group of minority shareholders.