Richard Branson To Acquire Jamaican Green Energy Company

Sir Richard Branson is continuing his major push for green energy in the Caribbean with the purchase of a renewables firm in Jamaica.

Branson’s purchase of Blue Mountain Renewables Jamaica Wind Limited was announced at the commissioning this week of BMR’s wind farm project outside Kingston.

BMR Energy has launched operations at its 36-megawatt wind farm, the largest private-sector green energy project in the country.

Located about 90 km west of Kingston, the project is projected to reduce greenhouse gases by about 66,000 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 13,000 cars off the road.

This “is great news for Jamaica and the future of its people,” said Bruce Levy, CEO of BMR Jamaica. “I don’t think we could have selected a better buyer than the Virgin Group and Sir Richard.”

Branson, who was on hand for the commissioning, said his primary interest was not to make a return on his investment but to be part of a “global push” to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2050.

He said clean air was “something that has no boundaries and that it is incumbent that we get the wind mills out there, get the solar out there, get the wave energy out there, and create a green energy revolution that brings the cost of energy down for everybody and gets rid of the danger of coal and oil and the dirty-producing energies that we have today.”

Branson, who lives on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, has been one of the Caribbean’s leading advocates for green energy, most notably with his green energy summit on Necker Island in 2014.

“As I have been saying frequently, we need to find real world solutions, which will benefit everyone,” Branson said.

The farm was created with a $62.7 milloin USD financing package that included a $42.7 million senior loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a $10 million senior loan from the IFC and a $10 million loan from the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program.

BMR Energy provided an equity investment of $26.9 million.

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the start-up of our new, state-of-the-art wind generation facility and are thankful for all of the support we have received from the Government of Jamaica, the local community and our lenders,” said Bruce Levy, president and principal of BMR Energy. “We look forward to providing a source of clean, low cost energy to Jamaica for years to come.”

The wind farm will serve an estimated 15,000 customers annually with 11 wind turbines producing 120,000 megawatts per year, or about 3 percent of Jamaica’s current energy demand.

Power from the project will be sold to the Jamaica Public Service company under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“We are delighted to see BMR Energy embark on the inauguration of this critical energy project,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “BMR Energy exemplifies the transformative impact that can result from private-sector development and OPIC is proud to have supported a project that is strengthening Jamaica’s renewable energy sector.”