Latest update June 2nd, 2023 12:49 AM
Apr 01, 2023 News
…Bhulai maintains invoices sent to GEA
Kaieteur News – Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo has denied that government is in receipt of documents that provide a cheaper solar alternative for its planned gas-fired power plant to be built at Wales, West Bank Demerara (WBD).
At a party press conference held on Thursday at Freedom House, Robb Street, the VP told reporters that while Energy Technologist, Alfred Bhulai claims he supplied evidence of the feasibility of solar power to the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the government has seen no such document.
“Recently, he (Bhulai) said that the GEA is sitting on evidence of cheaper solar power alternative for the gas plant so we don’t have that…we are not sitting on any evidence and then he cites some small-scale panels that we are doing. If this was the case then the entire world practically would have gone solar already but I don’t want to be unkind to Mr. Bhulai because the way it is written, the way the story came out is that he is looking for answers so we should ensure we demonstrate this,” the former head of state explained.
Bhuali has often cited solar as a cleaner, more affordable source of power generation for Guyana. He has suggested that each home be outfitted with solar panels, complete with battery power to cater for rainy days. This, Bhulai argues, can offer numerous benefits.
Jagdeo however noted that the lowest offer government has received to date will see power being generated at about eight cents per kilowatt without battery storage. As such, he committed to signing a power purchase agreement with any company who can supply power to the national grid at five cents per kilowatt.
He said, “…the lowest offer that we have had for a system that is not fully battery-powered is about eight cents per kilowatt hour but if Mr. Bhulai can find anybody who will come now and supply the government of Guyana, not at three cents per kilowatt hour that he thinks with battery but a 24-hour system that can come in at four cents or five cents per kilowatt hour, anybody would do that, we are prepared tomorrow to sign up a long term power purchase agreement with them…get a 24 hours solar base load supply to the grid at five cents per kilowatt hour.”
In an invited comment, Bhulai told this publication that it is evident the administration is determined to invest in a large-scale project “so that they can get control”, but at the same time, he said there are certain disadvantages which will also affect the entire population.
For one, Bhulai cited that a power outage can affect the entire country, whereby investing in the solar alternative can have a lesser impact.
In addition, he said investing in solar panels for each home would reduce the need for costly loans on the shoulders of Guyanese for years to come.
“If you roll it out as money comes in from oil, there is no need to borrow anything. I have already put that out in a couple of articles and it is well laid out there…Dr. Sharma has the invoices that prove the figures for 2020,” he explained.
In offering a comparison of the benefits of solar over gas, Bhulai said, “You got to operate the gas; there are lots of risks with gas. You can have leakage and these Environmental Impact Assessments that they are avoiding, all of that you don’t need (with solar).”
Bhulai detailed that an impact study would not be required to roll out a solar power project, except for the construction phase where inspections would be required on buildings to ensure they are properly wired.
The Energy Technologist was also keen to note that solar would eradicate the need for an operational cost. He said, “So there is no need to put yourself in debt for all this operation and people would be empowered. If something goes wrong with the installation, what would happen is there would be a blackout there. Not everybody like the whole country and what is more, you don’t need to run all these transmission and distribution lines.”
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