Jun 03, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – The Government of Guyana (GoG) has received a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to diversify its energy matrix with sustainable and cleaner sources. Part of the US$21,160,000 loan will be used to set up a 0.60 MW solar PV farm at Leguan, Region Three.
The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) will be executing the project and has since invited eligible bidders to submit proposals for the procurement, construction and installation, commissioning and turn-key delivery of a solar PV Power plant, inclusive of battery energy storage and transmission lines at Leguan.
Based on documents from the IDB, this newspaper understands that the new solar farm will cost an estimated US$1,785,452.
Back in 2018, a US$21,160,000 loan was approved by the IDB to support Guyana’s evolving energy sector. The Energy Matrix Diversification and Institutional Strengthening of the Department of Energy (EMISDE) is geared towards (i) investing in sustainable/cleaner energy solutions to diversify the energy matrix in the hinterland while contributing to climate change mitigation, (ii) investing in the reinforcement of transmission infrastructure to improve reliability and stability of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System, and (iii) strengthening the Department of Energy to develop a regulatory framework, and improve institutional capacity and governance of the oil and gas sector.
The loan has three components with the first US$8.6 million allocated to renewable energy solutions for the hinterland. This component entails the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in three hinterland townships of Bartica (Region 7), Mahdia (Region 8) and Lethem (Region 9) all of which currently rely exclusively on fossil fuel for electricity generation. The installation of a 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar plant within 3.03 hectares (7.5 acres) of land is planned in Bartica,1 MW within 2.02 hectares (5 acres) of land is planned in Lethem, and 0.65 MW within 4.65 hectares (11.48 acres) of land is planned in Mahdia. The electrification of the Dagg Point community in Bartica and the titled indigenous village Campbelltown in Mahdia are also expected under this component.
Under the second part of the loan, Guyana will be looking to reinforce the transmission infrastructure at a cost of US$9.95 million. According to project documents, this component entails reinforcements at three substations of Kingston, Old Sophia and 5 km single circuit overhead 69 kV transmission line between the Kingston and Sophia substations and installing reactive power compensation at New Sophia. The Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) is the executing agency for this component.
The third and final component caters to the institutional strengthening and governance of the Department of Energy to the tune of US$4.5 million. It was explained that this component seeks to finance capacity building initiatives and best practice organizational structure, including high level training and coaching of Government staff and technical support for the development of the design of a new oil and gas legislative and regulatory framework. The GEA is also the executing agency for this Component.
The Leguan solar project was not initially catered for under the loan but is being funded through savings accrued under the EMISDE programme. The IDB project documents indicate that under components one and three, US$0.97 million was saved, while US$0.23 million was saved under the project management costs.
According to the Bank, “The Government has requested the support of the IDB to finance an additional 0.60 MW solar PV farm with a 0.80 MW storage capacity on a land area of 1 hectare (2.48 acres) on the island of Leguan located in the Essequibo River in Region 3. If necessary, the Government will request an extension of EMISDE to accommodate the completion of the additional solar farm. A new transmission line will also be established to facilitate interconnection with the project. The total cost of the project is estimated as USD $1,785,452.”
It is understood that the project sum includes the cost of a battery energy storage system as well as the construction of a new transmission line. The project has a life of 20 years.
Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh while presenting this year’s Budget revealed that in 2022 government commissioned a 1 MW solar farm in Lethem, while work advanced on another 1.5 MW solar farm in Bartica and 0.75 MW in Wakenaam. He also noted that tenders were launched for the completion of a total of 33 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) system to be connected to the GPL power system and at Linden.
The Finance Minister explained that a total of 166.82kW of solar PV systems at 39 locations across the regions were installed at the household level last year. This year, he said government plans to roll out a 30,000 solar PV home lighting systems to the hinterland and riverain areas. A total of $1.8 billion was set aside in the Budget to finance this programme.
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