May 15, 2016 News
The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is boasting that it has been able to assist a small village with energy. This has gone a long way toward improving facilities for those dwelling in the area.
Propelled by the vision of ensuring that reliable energy is provided to all in Guyana within an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable framework; with increasing consideration of renewable energy sources, GEA, in 2014 and 2015 conducted a series of energy efficient rehabilitative works in communities and at schools across Guyana.
GEA said that it recently revisited ‘47 Miles Village’, one of the communities that benefitted from the project.
The village is located along the Linden-Lethem Highway, between the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers, 47 Miles south of Linden. Governed by a Central Development Committee (CDC), the village has a population of 153 persons occupying 58 homes.
GEA said that its relationship with the village was initiated by a request from the Chairman, Godfrey Bowen, to assist with solar systems for lighting purposes, so that children can study in the evenings. Two of GEA’s engineers subsequently visited the village to conduct an assessment to determine the priority energy needs.
According to Leon DeSouza, the engineer who spearheaded the project, it was discovered that sources of lighting within the village consisted of battery powered LED lamps, kerosene lamps and 12-volt DC lamps powered by lead acid automotive batteries.
He explained that since LED lamps are powered from non-rechargeable D size dry cell batteries, their useful life is short. The community would utilize a large number of batteries every three or four days.
Further, the automotive batteries used for domestic purposes had to be constantly charged using a tractor. The tractors are used for logging activities and would not operate every day, therefore, residents are required to wait for them to be in operation or provide the fuel for charging their batteries.
The team visited various locations within the community, including a school that housed nursery and primary levels; the teacher’s living quarters, a health facility and a number of households. As a matter of priority GEA decided to facilitate Energy Efficient rehabilitative works at the school, teachers living quarters and the health facility.
“The school at the time had no energy source” said De’Souza, while the teachers living quarters had a 260-watt solar photovoltaic system, which was used primarily for lighting and operating small equipment. He said that the system only functioned for short periods during sunny days.
It was found that the system had no batteries and the energy that was used was not stored but came directly from the solar panels. Hence, the power supply only lasted for a few hours. Thus, lights were not available at nights. This made the teachers’ work difficult and compromised their safety.
GEA said that the community’s health facility, used battery powered lamps to provide lighting when needed. The lack of lighting resulted in the invasion of bats which saw the items being destroyed and a significant amount of bat droppings which created a health hazard.
In the recent follow up visit, Headteacher of the school, Michelle Downer, said that the installation at the school has allowed for enhanced education.
GEQ quoted the teacher saying, “There was never any electricity before because the installation was not properly done…Since it was rectified, along with other technical assistance from GEA, we are now able to involve the children in the Ministry of Education ‘Interactive Radio Instruction’ (IRI) programme which has helped to enhance their numeracy and development of other listening skills.”
As it relates to the teachers’ quarters, Downer indicated that they are now able to light both the interior and exterior of the building which has given them an additional sense of security…”Prior to the intervention there were robbery attempts and break and entering. Since the installation there have been no such attempts.”
GEA said that professionals at the health centre were also appreciative of the intervention.
Nurse Natoya Ashby said that the health centre now has a refrigerator which aids with the vaccination process.
“We usually get the vaccines from the Linden Hospital Complex and it is stored in a vaccine carrier that is lined with cold packs. However, there are some parents who cannot make it early. The refrigerator is very useful as it allows for the storage of additional cold packs which are used to replace those in the carrier; thereby allowing the vaccines to be kept at the right temperature to facilitate those parents who cannot make it early,” Nurse Ashby explained.
Additionally, she indicated that that there were break and entry incidents prior…”However since we were able to light the building and compound no such incident has occurred”
GEA said that it will continue to facilitate such interventions as part of its community outreach with the aim of realizing its vision to provide reliable energy that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable for all in Guyana.
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