Jan 18, 2016 News
By Mondale Smith
A team of Canadians has met with several Ministers, CEOs and local businessmen with a view of setting up a multi-million dollar solar energy project in Guyana.
As a result of those meetings pending a purchase agreement from the local end, Guyana is one step closer to realising President David Granger’s goal to make Guyana a Green Economy through the team’s proposal.
The overseas-based team comprised Edmonde Gamo Klass (Chief Executive Officer), Tom Krupa, Vice President of Procurement, Lindsay Davidson (Public Affairs) and Kempford Robertson, professional engineer and group consultant.
They are from the Greenheart Tree Energy Inc. a company located in Toronto, Canada and they have begun the process to register that entity in Guyana.
The other members are Steven Chen, (procurement official), Chris Lantern, Vice President of Engineering and Ashton Ward, also Vice President of Engineering.
Esmonde Klass, the company’s CEO said that once established, the solar farm would work in tandem with the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to augment what is already in place.
Greenheart Tree Energy Inc is looking to provide energy to all the towns in Guyana, starting with Bartica, with an aim of producing 1.8megawatts, in addition to setting up small plants on roof tops, and larger ones in schools and in commercial areas.
The team met with Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, Junior Public Infrastructure Minister, Annette Ferguson, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkhan and Finance Minister Winston Jordan.
They also met with Chief Executive officers of GWI Dr. Richard Van West Charles, GPL’s CEO Collin Welch, Guyana Energy Agency Head Mahendra Sharma and Head of the Hinterland Electrification Programme, Horace Williams.
“We are very encouraged by what we have seen. Our ultimate objective is to come to Guyana to help to achieve a green energy solution in keeping with a call from the President to the Diaspora and help with his vision to make Guyana a green economy through the introduction of Green energy,” Klass said.
Describing the meetings as fruitful, Klass said the officials the team met with “were very encouraging…and our impression is that Guyana is very much open for business and they are willing to accept our proposals, once it makes sense for them.”
Ultimately, it is the public that will determine how good their service is once operations begin locally.
“We are not afraid of competition. We are here to do business and as we do business we want to be good corporate citizens and help the communities in which we operate.”
The group said before arriving in Guyana it was in receipt of a letter of interest and following the meetings held over the past week they have been tasked with presenting written proposals through varying time spans.
While the proposal conditions vary, a proposal that has already been prepared for Bartica will be presented before the February 14 deadline Klass assured, while some of them would be done within a week or two.
He also promised that there will be job creation through the construction of a solar assembly plant with the intention of building a low and a medium voltage plant. This is in addition to the construction of an institute of learning with respect to solar energy so that Guyana could be the solar place in the Caribbean for solar energy export.
“We intend to get to younger kids pre-high school, so that they can be groomed to become future engineers in solar energy. And this is in addition to us looking at University graduates to offer them opportunities which they did not have before.
“It is very sad – when I looked at Guyana and recognized a group of young people who had been disenfranchised. We will be a corporate citizen that helps to set an example to ensure that there is not a recurrence of disenfranchisement.”
When asked about investors, Klass said: “We have our money; we are not looking for local investors. We are not coming to Guyana asking for anything other than a proper power purchase agreement that basically ensures that when we put our assets in Guyana, they are properly protected.
Klass said that small projects can be set up within a month after an order is made, while a 1.8 megawatt plant can be ready for operation in six months.
“We are here to contribute and are willing to start contributing immediately but we need to make sure that the enablers give us the go ahead, we cannot start doing anything until we get the go ahead via a power purchase agreement from the Minister of Infrastructure.”
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