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Wigton Windfarm in Manchester, Jamaica, is one the country's premier renewable energy investment. (File photo)

Wigton eyes more local renewables, regional expansion

Wigton Windfarm in Manchester, Jamaica, is one the country's premier renewable energy investment. (File photo)

Wigton Wind Farm Limited is forging ahead with expansion plans even as the business of energy supply has become considerably more competitive.

“Our experience and market leadership make us an attractive option for future developments,” managers said in the company’s annual report which was published today, September 22.

They cited the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), of the Government of Jamaica, which is inclusive of additional generation capacity of 513.5 MW to be procured by 2025.

This plan includes an allocation of over 300 MW of renewable energy.

Wigton’s management stated, “the company stands ready to respond with proposals to develop utility scale projects as soon as the Generation Procurement Entity (GPE) engages the market.”

They also note that while the local industry will always be a consideration, growth is also projected for energy markets across the Caribbean with renewables.

Management stated in the report, “On that basis we are seeking to expand our operations beyond Jamaica to take advantage of growth opportunities in territories throughout the region.

Wigton’s power plant utilises wind turbine generators to convert wind energy into electricity, which is sold to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) in the island.

For 2019-2020, the average availability rate achieved for all three phases of the wind farm was 94.6 per cent, ahead of the target of 93.9 per cent.

At the same time, total output sold to the grid was approximately 157,369,000 kWh which earned $2.41 billion.This amount was less than the 164,105,750 kWh supplied to the grid in 2018-2019 which earned $2.45 billion.

Management said the difference in production was due mainly to lower wind speeds during the 2019-2020 period.

Wigton’s contracts with the JPS are indexed to the US dollar and as a result the company experiences gains in the event of deprecation in the local currency.

Total revenue for the financial year ended in March 2020 was $2.64 billion representing an 11 per cent decrease when compared to the amount generated the previous year which was $2.95 billion.

The change, management outlined, was largely due to a decline in foreign exchange gains to $34.6 million from $455.7 million in 2018-2019.
They note that while foreign exchange gains declined for the financial year, the overall impact of the refinancing of US dollar denominated loans to

Jamaican dollars was positive as the net foreign exchange gains for the period was $34.6 million.

In December 2018, the Company decided to refinance its United States Dollar loans to Jamaican dollars, resulting in the reduction of finance expenses to $526.64 million, a significant 50 per cent less than the previous year’s $1.05 billion.

Shareholders’ equity at year end was $3.46 billion or 24 per cent above the previous year’s equity of $2.79 billion.

Earnings per stock unit was $0.06, up from the prior year’s EPS of $0.04.
On June 2, 2020, the company declared an interim dividend of J$0.0025 per stock unit which amounts to $27.5 million. The dividend was paid in August, 2020.