Sep 15, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Guyana has signed officially an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to utilise US$83.3M from the Norway forest funds to build eight solar projects across the country.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday between Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and the IDB’s Resident Representative (ag) Lorena Solorzano-Salazar. The Finance Ministry explained in a missive to the press that the deal was signed under the Guyana Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Programme (GUYSOL), which paves the way for investments in eight utility scale photovoltaic solar projects totalling 33 MWp. Once completed, it is expected to bring affordable and clean energy to targeted communities in Guyana.
The US$83.3M being used for this programme is part of the US$220.8M earned by Guyana for forest climate services through its partnership with Norway during the previous People’s Progressive Party/ Civic’s (PPP/C’s) term in office. The IDB is the account holder of the said funds.
The earnings from Norway have since been invested in several key adaptation and socio-economic projects identified as part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030. Those projects which have benefited Guyanese include the Micro and Small Enterprise Development project; Amerindian Land Titling, The Amerindian Development Fund, the Cunha Canal Adaptation, Sustainable Land Development, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification; and ICT Access and e-Services for Hinterland, poor and remote communities.
Prime Minister, Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips at the signing ceremony pointed out that the programme, once implemented will benefit thousands of persons in the country including women in rural areas. He also reminded that it will assist the Guyana Power and Light in decreasing fossil fuel use and moving to a greater use of renewable energy.
“So it is a transformative project for Guyana. We are thankful that the IDB has been working side by side with Guyana to utilise this money that was lying in an account for over six years and we are thankful for them bringing us to the stage at which we are,” the Prime Minister added.
Prior to signing the Agreement, the Finance Minister reflected on the history of the LCDS through which the finance for the project was secured. “This allocation of over US$80M has its roots in the original Low Carbon Development Strategy and the Guyana REDD Plus investment Fund which was established under the original LCDS, and at the time these resources were set aside to invest in renewable energy with the IDB as the implementing partner entity,” said Minister Singh.
He said this amount was in fact intended originally as Government’s contribution to the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project. “We had at that time a major investor, the Blackstone Group who was willing to do the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project, but political events intervened as a result of which that project was stalled and ultimately derailed and for more than five years, these resources ended up being parked with the IDB,” Dr. Singh explained.
In her brief remarks, the IDB’s Resident Representative said the operation is framed within the partnership that Guyana had with Norway and will especially take the country to 19 percent renewables on the grid within about three years. The official added, “So this is an important milestone. This is in line with the kind of transformative change of the IDB Vision 2025…It augers well for Guyana.”
Kaieteur News previously reported that the objective of the programme is to support the diversification of Guyana’s energy matrix towards the use of cleaner and renewable energy sources in the electricity generation matrix.
The programme seeks especially to avoid Carbon Dioxide emissions with the development of solar PV generation plants and lower the cost of electricity generation while supporting the country’s transition towards renewable energy-based generation. It is also intended to improve the operation and reliability of the isolated systems of Essequibo and Linden. As part of the programme, investments will be made in solar photovoltaic plants as follows: 10 MWp of generation capacity connected to the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) in the Berbice Area; 8 MWp in the Essequibo Coast Isolated System, including a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with a minimum capacity of 12 MWh; and 15 MWp connected to the Linden Isolated System, inclusive of a BESS with a minimum capacity of 22 MWh.
Each facility will be connected to the 13.8 kV primary distribution network in the respective areas. The programme is expected to benefit over 70, 000 households.
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