ENERGY MINISTER Stuart Young on Thursday said he will take to Cabinet, in the coming weeks, plans for a hydrogen production policy as the country moves towards green energy.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet media briefing held at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Young sought to assure the country that TT is not going to be left behind as the world pursues clean energy sources.
“I am not concerned about talks that we are going to be left behind in the green energy,” he said adding that the hydrogen policy will detail how TT can be in the forefront, globally, in hydrogen production.
Young added that the letters of awards were given out for two solar parks, one in Trincity and the other in Point Lisas that will introduce 112.2 megawatts into the electricity grid. This, he said, will free up natural gas for further sales. Regarding domestic use of solar panels, Young said he will have to speak with Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales on what is creating a “bottle neck” that stymies residents from accessing solar power.
He said he was “getting excited” about the green energy campaign and the de-carbonisation programme that is being led by the National Gas Company (NGC), whose executives he is expected to meet with soon on the issue.
Young started the post-Cabinet meeting reiterating that the losses faced at NGC was as a direct link to a contract signed just before the 2015 general election by the People’s Partnership government. He said while there was no forensic audit of the contract and another at Lake Asphalt, there was very little that can be done about the former ministers who signed the contracts.
Young said: “It is not something that has been explored, there is a body of law that makes it a little difficult in these types of situations. It was just a bad deal entered into. I’m not running down ghosts I want to fix the sector along with the rest of the government.”
He said the $2.1 billion loss that NGC recorded was part of the latest international best practices in accounting that allows companies to record their losses. He added that in a letter to former ministers Larry Howai and Kevin Ramnarine, then finance minister and energy minister respectively, dated February 24, 2015, technocrats warned against the intent to enter into the bad contract.
He said on December 4, 2014 the then cabinet took the decision to enter into the contract and told NGC about it in January the following year.
Another bad contract, he said, was between Lake Asphalt and FastTech where the latter was contracted to supply 200,000 fibre boards for three years at a cost of US$3 million. The contract far exceeded Lake Asphalt's capabilities and when legally challenged the court ruled in FastTech’s favour. Lake Asphalt has since appealed the decision.