I attended a energy seminar on March 3, 2011 at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Auditorium. There were a total of 3 presenters two of which appeared to be there for fluff or pad the event. So in all reality there was but one presenter a Jamaican businessman showcasing a product from Cool-N-Save.
The acting CEO of PCJ was also on the panel with Oral Rainford Principal Director of Policy, Planning and Development Division of the Ministry of Energy and Mining as the moderator. The latter appearing to the wiser and more intelligent and experienced.
What I found amazing was not that the PCJ staged the seminar which was based on similar set up of the Kingston Venture Capital Conference & Expo (KVCCE) rescheduled for April 2011.
As I had met with the PCJ acting CEO and two or three of his staff members who for the most part were all geologist in regards to KVCCE 2010-2011. Having discussed in the meeting about KVCCE 2010-2011 with the focus being cooling technologies to lower energy cost as the focus to date was on lighting and meeting existing energy demand via renewable energy.
But what jumped out at me more so how incompetent the PCJ appears to be in respect to their contribution in solving Jamaica’s energy problem. These men do not appear to be qualified in research and development for entities seeking safe investment in respect to state of the art energy conservation technology. In fact they are absolutely incompetent in such matters and are merely parading as professionals.
Discarding the presentation on geothermal energy from what appeared to be from a government entity. As the presenter knowledge on the subject matter in respect to the latest drilling technologies, Jamaica’s potential for commercial geothermal energy, along with the major players in this sector demonstrated that the speaker was rather clueless on such matters.
The second presenter was rather enthusiastic in regards to he being an ordinary Jamaican securing the exclusive contract for Cool-N-Save products for Jamaica and the region and possible job creation.
He too was clueless to the market and his enthusiasm demonstrated that the PCJ allowing this product to be showcased without conducting due diligence in respect to the product being beneficial to the Jamaican market or by allowing such a product presented in an event the PCJ held. Thus providing some form of approval, shows that the PCJ does not understand the dangerous ramifications involved in such activities.
Though the technology from Cool-N-Save is innovative, such a technology was not selected in the portfolio of technologies by Kingston Venture Capital (KVC) for the Jamaican market based on several factors critical in new technology and emerging markets.
Not wanting to poor cold water on entrepreneur efforts, as this is not what is at hand. But more so desperation of consumers seeking genuine long term solutions in respect to their energy bill as business owners.
A regular expo where several vendors who have met the basic criteria to showcase their technologies would have been best. As consumers would not be presented with a single product or presenter in PCJ approved event that could lead to the impression that the product has unofficial or official, direct or indirect approval.
The important factors when selecting a new technology and company as far as KVC is concerned are four areas.
(1) Patented technology
(2) How heavy is the Venture Capital funding behind this technology company?
(3) How much success have the product have in the market under real world conditions and how many companies have began using the product?
(4) How easy is it to duplicate this technology?
For Jamaica is not a testing ground for unproven technologies, nor is it a dumping ground for fly by night gadgets with promises of cutting energy cost by 30%-40% when in reality there is no guarantee such claims can be substantiated beyond some professor or university showering praises on such a technology and company.
A university and a tech start success in the real world are not one of the same. For if businesses embrace products without being properly informed and such products do not live up to their expectations. When the real technologies are made known and available, the said consumer would be twice as shy to embrace energy conservation and worse would have spent any available capital to invest in the CAPEX for energy saving technologies.
It appears that many a businesses have seen gold in them there hills. Dollar signs have replaced the objective of providing a meaningful economical solution for the consumer. It is this very nature which makes KVC task even more difficult, as Jamaica appears to have had a history of such experiences.
One can only hope that as the consumer embraces blogs, new media, and the general media in educating themselves on energy conservation. That the Jamaican market for energy conservation and renewable energy will really begin to take off to the benefit of the Jamaican economy.