Apr 02, 2021 News
…points to imminent 39MW for grid using solar, investments in hydro
Kaieteur News – Government is actively pursuing landing Natural Gas from the Liza I oilfield—126 miles offshore Guyana—to the former Wales Sugar Estate for electricity generation, even as the country’s Energy Agency is actively pursuing several energy generation projects using renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass, among other sources.
In fact, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is on track to have installed in the near future, some 39 megawatts (MW) of electricity using solar farms.
This, in addition to other mini grids set up and power generation using several small hydro projects.
The disclosures were had on Thursday during in a presentation by GEA head, Dr. Mahender Sharma, during a webinar hosted by the American Chambers of Commerce in Guyana (AmCham).
His disclosure comes on the heels of publicly announced plans by the administration to land gas-to-shore in Guyana for the purpose of electricity generation.
The GEA head was quick to suggest that the administration actively consider compressing the natural gas expected from the Liza Field in the Stabroek Block.
The installation of some 39MW of additional generation capacity is being complemented by other similar initiatives, Sharma said, adding that “we are right and ready for solar in Guyana.”
He noted that some 4.7MW of solar power has already been installed using photovoltaic solar panels installed on rooftops at more than 280 government buildings, which has already led to the reduction of some $500M in energy bills.
Dr. Sharma in his presentation to the webinar, urged government to consider compressing natural gas obtained from the country’s oil fields for export.
He told moderator, Shyam Nokta, prior to the discovery of oil and natural gas in Guyana, the country had already embarked on an energy mix strategy, transitioning to more renewable sources of power generation.
Providing an update on the current activities in relation to the works being executed by GEA, Dr. Sharma noted that in the past seven years, the organisation has installed solar panel rooftops that are largely grid-connected systems.
This, he said, currently accounts for 4.7MW of capacity installed on some 287-government buildings, including schools and hospitals.
According to Dr. Sharma, the cost of installation of solar panels have also seen a downward trend over the years and noted that back in 2012 it cost some US$3.88 per kilowatt-hour.
By 2019, according to Dr. Sharma, this had been brought down to US$0.92 cents.
“We are right and ready for solar in Guyana, this system is actually in my home and I have reduced my monthly energy consumption by about 35 percent,” he cited, qualifying his position.
Speaking to efforts at a national scale, the GEA head disclosed that the entity has recently completed a 400 kilowatt per hour solar farm at Mabaruma.
According to Dr. Sharma, “over the last seven years we have facilitated the installation of more than 5MW of new solar panels on a total of 291 Government entities.”
This, he said, has resulted in some $500M in national savings “simply by displacing energy from the grid.”
He spoke too, to the fact that the GEA is the executing agency for an Inter-American Development Bank funded project “that looks at solar farms at Bartica, Mahdia and Lethem.”
Those for Bartica and Lethem have already been tendered for, according to Dr. Sharma, and are “likely to be completed by the end of this year.”
Dr Sharma noted that there are also plans for an additional farm on the island of Leguan and that tenders for that and the Mahdia farm will be issued before the end of the year, with Environmental Impact Assessment studies currently being conducted for the latter.
GEA, he said too, is the executing agency for a Japanese funded project aimed at loss reduction and the installation of a 400-kilowatt solar system at the Caribbean Community Secretariat.
Speaking to micro grid upgrades by the GEA, he pointed to a Moraikobai project with an installed capacity of 72kw, which has since allowed for 24 hours access to electricity for that hinterland community.
Addressing other solar technologies being explored by the GEA, he pointed to solar powered streetlights and electric cars. As such, GEA, he said is looking to install at least 39MW of electricity using some seven new solar farms and 10 solar mini grids in the next three years.
Speaking to hydropower initiatives by the Agency, Dr. Sharma pointed to one completed in Region One at Hosororo and the construction of another 150kw plant at Kato in Region Eight.
Additionally, he outlined that the GEA will soon be going out to tender for the construction of hydropower plants in Region Nine at Moco Moco at 0.7MW and in Kumu, a 1.5MW facility.
According to Dr. Sharma, government is currently awaiting finalising of financing for the projects from the Islamic Development Bank, while another private developer is looking to construct a 2.2MW hydropower plant at Tumatumari.
This, he said, is in addition to the GEA currently conducting countrywide studies and surveys in relation to the country’s hydropower potential.
Additionally, the GEA noted that there have been some progress made on the development of wind technology for the generation of electricity and pointed to an example of a wind powered lighting system 1823 Monument at the Georgetown Seawall.
The GEA head, in light of his presentation on the potential for renewable energy generation in Guyana, said “when gas gets landed many opportunities gets opened; compressed natural gas for transport might be an opportunity.”
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