The Jamaican government is set to conduct feasibility study on five hydropower sites with an investment of JMD109m ($1.12m) to develop hydropower project portfolio in the country.

The government has appointed Italian firm SP Studio Pietrangeli to undertake the study that has been financed by $15m funds secured from World Bank to improve the country’s energy efficiency, reported NZ Week.

The firm will conduct operations including site investigations, topographical and geotechnical assessments and detailed cost estimates, alongside construction schedules and socio-environmental impact assessments.

Jamaica Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell was quoted by the magazine as saying that the study was important Jamaica’s energy diversification plan, as it provides them with critical data about existing opportunities in hydropower sector.

"So we’re happy about the work that is to be done and we are looking forward to its early and successful completion," added Paulwell.

Federal government has outlined plans to allot $2.5m towards the development of hydro projects.

It has contracted Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) to undertake the construction of the projects.

"The government is entirely committed to diversifying our energy sources, recognizing that we have been captive to a dominant source — imported fossil fuel — for many years, and we now have to move rapidly away from that capture to incorporate some of our own domestic sources, namely renewable," noted Paulwel.