JIS News

The European Investment Bank (EIB), has responded positively to the project proposal for the $50 million expansion of the Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester.
This was disclosed to JIS News, by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Don Wehby, who was in London last week, following two days of top level talks with senior Government and business executives in Ireland.
The EIB is the long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU) and raises funds on the capital markets, which it then lends, on favourable terms, to projects furthering EU policy objectives.
“It’s a policy that we want 10 per cent of our energy coming from renewable (sources) by 2010. We asked EIB to look at the project proposal , and the initial response from them has been very positive,” he said.
According to Senator Wehby, as the Government seeks measures to deal with the problem of increasing oil prices and the effects on the Jamaican economy, finding alternative means of energy is critical. He said the investment is expected to double the size of the farm.
“This investment will double the size of the farm, and while it is not going to be a significant input on the national grid, it is a start,” Minister Wehby said. He added that there will be a renewed focus on expanding the use of solar energy, and exploration of the possibility of putting in place special tax credits similar to those in Barbados.
The Minister who has responsibility for the national carrier, Air Jamaica, also met with the executives of the Irish carrier, Aer Lingus.
“Our meeting with Aer Lingus was a learning experience. They were a Government-owned airline and they came under tremendous pressure in terms of losses. They changed their business model to one of a low cost carrier, and now they are doing significantly better. The meeting was useful for us to see how a Government-owned airline that was in a lot of trouble, worked its way out in the face of tremendous competition,” he added.