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Norway’s payments to fund solar farms in Guyana ; Jagdeo raises questions

Norway’s outstanding US$80 million payments to Guyana for the preservation of standing forests will be used to fund the purchase of solar farms to supply 100 megawatts to the national grid, State Minister Joseph Harmon said Thursday.

He said the decision was reached in talks himself, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, Minister of  aural Resources Raphael Trotman and Laura George of the Amerindian People’s Association had with Norwegian authorities.

Harmon said when the project is constructed, in the first instance, Guyana will buy 15 percent less fossil fuels for electricity generation and 50 percent from the second and third year. Clear time frames, he said, would depend on talks by Finance Minister Winston Jordan and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank and Norway.

The State Minister said Norway was convinced that Guyana would use natural gas as a cheap and clean transitionary arrangement.

Noting that “solar is what the world is embracing”, Harmon said Germany and China have been able to increase the storage capacity of batteries.

He said the 100 megawatts would not be supplied by one solar farm, but by several to be located near sub-stations.

Meanwhile, he said government would not be investing in the Amaila Falls hydro power station, but any private company is welcome to do so.

Guyana was expected to earn a total of US$250 million from Norway for absorption of carbon emissions by its standing tropical forests.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo poured cold water on government’s solar energy deal with Norway, saying nothing has been taken to Parliament and there is “no clear framework for renewable energy in Guyana”.

He said there was no information on energy demand, how that would be met, comparative costs of solar energy, hydro-power and natural gas. “We are in a total dark,” he said.