…to build solar farms, small hydros
Guyana is set to benefit from a major breakthrough in the delayed Norway climate funds.
An estimated US$130M of the original agreement of US$250M was held up for of one reason or the other.
The ground-breaking agreement was signed in 2009 with Norway targeting a number of countries with standing forests to reduce deforestation. Under the agreement, Guyana and other participating countries had to show results-based evidence that it has taken steps to reduce deforestation and is practising sustainable management.
However, Guyana was penalized US$18M for failing to meet benchmarks. From all indications just about US$100M was collected.
A sum of US$80M was held by the Inter-American Development Bank for the development of the Amaila Falls but this will be released to pursue other renewable energy projects.
The deal expired in 2015 but Norway agreed to give Guyana more time to meet requirements. There were talks of another deal but no confirmation at this time.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, yesterday announced that the country now has access to close to $27B in the outstanding monies following fruitful talks in Oslo, Norway.
The Minister of State and a delegation that included Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman; Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson; and Project Manager, Office of Climate Change, Marlon Bristol; recently visited Oslo, where they engaged with a Norwegian Ministerial delegation.
Impressed with the Government’s 2025 energy-mix proposal, the country’s deforestation rate of 0.05 – one of the lowest, and the role President David Granger has been playing in championing sustainable development, Norway has unlocked billions of dollars under the Norway Forest Agreement, according to a Government statement.
These monies will be placed into the Trustee Account for release to Guyana following an urgent trilateral meeting with representatives of Norway, Guyana and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Minister Harmon said, “They indicated very clearly the sums of money that were held as a result of the Agreement. There was US$40M that we had earned and which had not been transferred to the Trustee Account and they indicated that they were prepared to do that immediately.”
He noted that US$80M, which was placed in the IDB account and linked to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, has been unlocked.
“That’s no longer the case…In fact, they suggested that (the money) could be used for the solar development which is going to take place,” Minister Harmon stated. The sixth payment, which is also due under the agreement totalling approximately US$10.5M, will also be accessible.
Minister Harmon said Norway’s former Minister of Environment, now Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Erik Solheim, played a role in promoting Guyana’s case. The $27B or US$135Million, the State Minister, said will be used to transform not only the country but the lives of every Guyanese, in a practical way.
“At the level of the ordinary man and woman in Guyana we expect that there is going to be some direct impact and this was one of the things when we came into office we criticised, that we didn’t see the trickling down effect to the lives of the ordinary people,” he noted.
The minister reiterated that the money will not only be spent on capacity building at the higher level but will also be used for building sustainable livelihoods by educating citizens on the environment and climate change. He added that Norway has also agreed that natural gas may be used in Guyana’s energy-mix as the country transitions into full renewable energy use.
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programme in the Hinterland, payments for the Opt-in mechanism for Indigenous Communities, with respect to forest preservation and management, and funding for renewable energy projects will be catered for under this funding.
Meanwhile, during a post-Cabinet briefing, Minister Harmon disclosed that that the number of solar farms would in all likelihood be several, and located next to sub-stations of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. to reduce the possibility of expensive transmission lines running over long distances.
Government is planning to built solar farms with the monies that could swiftly see a reduction on the reliance of imported fuel. The total power could be almost 100 megawatts from the solar farms.
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