Energy mix to be 67 per cent renewable by 2035 – LCDS draft

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government intends for Guyana’s energy mix to be 67 per cent renewable by 2035, according to the recently launched draft expanded Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

The first largescale energy project is the 250-megawatt (MW) gas-to-energy project, which is fossil fuel, but the government does not intend for gas to dominate Guyana’s energy mix for a very long time. It will only act as a transition fuel while Guyana gathers renewable energy projects.

Graph showing the projected energy mix in the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) up to 2040

When gas comes to shore in 2024, it will make up 94 per cent of the energy mix, according to LCDS projections.

“While natural gas provides a short to medium-term solution, over the medium and long- term, the most sustainable and resilient energy mix in Guyana would be formed by solar, wind, hydro and biomass power plants,” the draft document states.

The government sees hydro power as important to provide firm capacity and short-term energy storage to make up for daily and weekly fluctuations from solar and wind sources. It also expects hydro to provide a cheaper solution in the long- term than any other technology due to its lifespan.

Comparing sources, the draft document states that the average lifespan of a hydropower project is 100 years, while solar, wind and gas plants all have an average lifespan of 25 years.

Hence, the 165 MW Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is the largescale energy project, which will immediately follow the Gas-to-Energy project. By 2027, when Amaila is commissioned, the renewable share of the mix is projected to move from four per cent in the previous year, to 31 per cent.

The projected natural gas share would be 62 per cent. It is projected to steadily decrease in its share, in the following years, as more renewable energy projects are implemented.

The government has many off-grid solar projects which are already in the implementation stage, and are designated for areas across the coast. The government will also be supplying 30,000 solar photovoltaic units to hinterland homes.

As for wind, plans are in place to conduct wind measurements along the coast and at Leguan. The coast, the document states, is exposed to the steady northeast trade winds. So far, private developer, Hope Energy Development, plans to construct a 25 MW wind plant on the East Coast of Demerara.

The draft document projects that gas and renewable sources will make up 24 per cent and 74 per cent of the energy mixes respectively by 2040, while heavy fuel oil remains negligible.

The public has four months to provide comments and ask questions on the current LCDS draft. Government intends to finalise the document by March 2022.