Significant strides made in 2021 to provide cheaper, reliable energy

Cheaper and more reliable energy is a commitment the government is determined to deliver to the Guyanese people. The aim is to bring the cost of power down to US$0.15 per Kilowatt-hour.

Government’s intention is to create an energy-mix that includes hydropower, solar and wind energy. In 2021, government made significant strides with a number of monumental steps.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali is confident that by 2024, an additional 500 megawatts of energy will be added to the country’s electricity grid. Some major initiatives include the gas-to-shore and Amalia Falls Hydropower Projects.

“Recognising the importance of energy sufficiency, reliability, affordability and sustainability, your government has commended investment in the energy sector, aiming for a new generation capacity of at least 500 megawatts in the immediate term, with the option to expand this further in the longer term,” President Ali said.

Amaila Falls, Region 8

However, providing cheaper and reliable energy goes far beyond making blackouts a thing of the past. It also encapsulates bringing the cost of manufacturing down to a minimum. This will not only attract investors, but at the same time, create thousands of jobs for Guyanese.

Laying the foundation

Private investors have since been invited to contribute to Government’s $US900M gas to shore project. The pipeline, will measure 225 kilometres from the Liza area, where the natural gas is produced, and is set to come on stream by 2024 with a lifetime of 25 years.

Preliminary Artist’s Impression of Natural Gas Plant

A power plant is expected to be established to produce 250 megawatts of power. An additional 150 megawatts will be produced in a second phase, along with the establishment of an industrial park that comprises industries that could use gas, steam and/or electricity.

Completing the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is another major project which government made major steps to bring to fruition. Through cabinet’s ‘no objection’, China Railway Group Limited was selected to construct the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project in November 2021. The project is expected to bring 165 Mega Watts of new power to the grid by 2025 with construction set to commence this year.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said government will spare no effort to deliver the two projects.

“A political party has to fulfil its promises… We are accountable to the electorate and when we put a Manifesto out that says we’re going to build the Amaila Falls because we’ve studied it, [that] we’re going to go for a gas-to-energy project, we campaigned on this,” the Vice President said.

Immediate solutions

Very soon, Guyanese will benefit from the Guyana Power and Light’s $10.4 billion 46.5-megawatt power plant at Garden of Eden. The state-of-the-art power plant is dual fuel energy meaning it can utilise heavy fuel oil and natural gas simultaneously. The powerplant is expected to bring immediate relief by supplying reliable energy.

Section of GPL’s 46.5-megawatt power plant at Garden of Eden

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips in August 2021 tested all five generators and was impressed by their performance. Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar in October 2021 said the power plant is undergoing reliability test and will soon be added to the grid.

“It is actually on the grid right now, but we are going to have the commissioning very shortly, they are doing the reliability test. So, they are actually putting power on to the grid but on a test basis,” Minister Indar said.

Government is also conducting a study to determine the way forward for the provision of more stable electricity.

Dr. Jagdeo said, “that’s the next big thing we’re working on, a stable smart grid that where, because fibre will be on all the electricity lines, that you can sit in a control room and know without having to send a crew out and get a report when there is a power outage, any part of this country.”

Hinterland power supply

Over 30,000 residents will soon benefit from solar electricity through a $1.44 billion Line of Credit from the Government of India. Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, M.P., said it might be the most impactful thing to ever happen to those who will receive electricity for the first time.

“It might not be the big project on the radar with the Ministry of External Affairs of India, but this project will have a truly transformative impact for 30,000 Guyanese families,” Dr. Singh said. Government is also working on smaller isolated renewable energy projects for Moco Moco, Kumu, Bartica, Leguan, and Wakenaam.  These are coupled with the installation of generator sets in Kamwatta and Whitewater, Region One that will supply thousands of residents will a steady supply of electricity.