Guyana’s commitment to net zero emissions demonstrated by national energy plan – Minister Bharrat

Guyana’s energy mix of natural gas, hydropower, solar and wind is a clear demonstration of the South American country’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – an ambitious but critical pledge of the Paris Agreement.

Conveying this point was Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, MP, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), being hosted in New York, on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number seven. The goal, which is one of 17, aims to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”

Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat MP

“We are also fully supporting the commitment of net zero emissions by 2050. Guyana’s commitment to these objectives is demonstrated by the actions we are taking to transform our energy sector; the energy sector is being re-engineered as an engine of economic growth by improving energy security, realising universal energy access, diversifying the energy mix, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through various sustainable energy projects,” the minister articulated in his virtual address on Wednesday.

Minister Bharrat stated that Guyana’s National Energy Plan is in keeping with the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LSDS), which will allow the country to continue being a net carbon sink. This programme, he added, will generate forestry climate services, while keeping its economy in place on a low carbon trajectory, ensuring the protection of its biodiversity and marine resources are protected, as well as the prudent management of the country’s abundant water resources.

“Government intends to provide affordable stable and reliable energy to benefit both households and businesses,” the Natural Resources Minister reminded.

“Universal access to electricity is expected to be achieved by 2030, primarily through the development and upgrade of solar systems for the off-grid areas, and the development of micro grids, and the community public buildings for the larger hinterland settlements.”

He said Guyana maintains that sovereign states develop their energy resources and define appropriate policies for the production and use of those  resources. Notwithstanding this, he reaffirmed the country’s environmental obligations to which it has committed and undertakes to pursue its developmental activities in a balanced manner.

Furthermore, he noted that Guyana is open to fostering an establishment of partnerships for knowledge and experience in the energy sector. This must be conducted in keeping with the implementation and realisation of SDG seven.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali is confident that by 2024 an additional 500 megawatts (MW) of energy will be added to the electricity grid.

As part of this system, President Ali had pointed to the highly-anticipated gas-to-shore project terminating at the Wales Development Authority, will see 250 MW of new power generation constructed.

The US$900 million project will utilise natural gas from the Liza One and Liza Two development projects offshore Guyana. The project is being developed in partnership with ExxonMobil, the operator of the Stabroek Block. It is expected to come on stream by 2024 and with a lifetime of 25 years. Importantly, it will slash electricity costs by half before 2024.

The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is slated to deliver another 160 MW of new power with intent to start construction in 2022 and completion in 2025. Solar generating capacity will also be installed to deliver at least 30 MW of power.