Nov 10, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Government is currently pursuing some hundreds of millions of dollars in electricity projects, but the power generated will not be reaching almost half of the country’s population.This, since electricity generated from the proposed initiatives would only be supplied to the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) at the Sophia Sub-Station.
As such, the entire Essequibo County including its inhabited islands, and communities such as Linden, Kwakwani, Mabaruma and scores of other hinterland communities, would not benefit, since the proposed increased generation capacity would not be connected to any of the isolated grids.
Based on plans being actively pursued by the administration, it will install additional generation capacity in the coming years incrementally, in order to triple the national demand—national demand forecast to double in five years.
This, according to key administration spokespersons—Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo and Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh—who in recent weeks and months have alluded to pursuing an energy mix of solar, hydro, wind, gas and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).
To this end, its most recently announced venture is the now resuscitated Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project (AFHEP).
That venture was last estimated to cost some US$1B inclusive of a road, transmission line, dam, reservoir and a 165 MW hydropower facility on the Kuribrong River.
The electricity generated would be transmitted to the Sophia Substation, which is owned and operated by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. after which it will be distributed to, and paid for by the consumers on that DBIS grid.GPL would then pay the Chinese owner and contractor, China Railway First Group—recently confirmed as the most ‘capable partner’ – to proceed with the project, according to Dr. Jagdeo, who recently expressed public satisfaction of the bid submitted by the Chinese bidder.
The Vice President was adamant that, under the Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) arrangement, the Chinese contractor would be financing the project 100 percent, standing all of the risks, and that Guyana would not be putting in any equity, as was the case in its previous iteration.
According to Jagdeo, the electricity would not cost more than 7.7 cents per kilo watt per hour generated, which would work out to in excess of US$2B being paid over to the contractor before it hands over the project to government.
None of the electricity generated however, would be reaching any of the communities not on the DBIS, largely in part to Guyana’s topography and demographic layout.
Additionally, the government is pursuing a proposed US$900M Gas to Shore Energy grid which, in addition to providing gas for sale, will partially power a dual cycle electricity plant.
Dual cycle, means t
hat some of the electricity to be generated would be had using Natural Gas as its energy source, while some of the power would be generated at the 250MW plant, that would still be coming from HFO.
Vice President, Dr. Jagdeo last Monday had signaled, however, that the cost of this venture could likely increase, taking into account increased prices on the world market across the spectrum.
Speaking with reporters at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) last week Monday, Dr. Jagdeo told members of the local media corps that when factoring in prevailing global conditions, the prices for key commodities needed for the project have increased.
He specifically pointed to the fact that the price of steel, for example, has been escalating on the world market.
Conceding, “…it’s a bad time to bid anything,” Dr. Jagdeo was nevertheless adamant, “we can’t slow down the development” and that “we have to proceed,” with the Gas to Shore initiative.
This project will also require the construction of a transmission line from the Wales Plant to the Sophia substation for distribution to consumers on the DBIS.
According to a study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the least costly alternative amounts to just over US$80M to install a combination of 69KV and 230KV power lines to take the electricity from the power plant to the GPL Sophia substation.
Notably, this electricity supplied from the natural gas plants will not be benefitting communities such as Linden, Kwakwani, Mabaruma and a range of other communities, including the entire Essequibo county and its islands.
According to Vice President Dr. Jagdeo, isolated grids across the country would be powered through various means, such as large scale solar farms to be installed using some US$80M that had been earned from Norway by selling carbon credits, in addition to smaller hydro power ventures to be installed at Moco Moco and Kumu, among other interior locations.
The Vice President had alluded also to complementing the electricity supply for those not to benefit from the AFHEP or the Natural Gas Power Plant, through the provision of some 30,000 solar units primarily for hinterland homes.
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