Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Guyana can leapfrog other economies with renewables transition – US Ambassador

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United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch told a recent energy roundtable that the South American country is in a unique position in the race to transition to renewable energy sources, due to its small size and relatively low energy demand.

The diplomat said Guyana can leapfrog other economies and invest directly in renewable energy.

“Guyana’s total current power generation is approximately 170 megawatts (MW), the majority of which is produced from generators powered by heavy fuel oil,” Lynch said. “Every 5 MW, 10 MW, 25 MW, renewable energy project that comes online substantially shifts the energy mix towards a decarbonized energy matrix.”

She believes the government, with its planned energy investments outlined in the expanded Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), has illustrated the importance of renewable energy. The document, which outlines a decade-long plan for Guyana’s sustainable growth, is currently undergoing consultations.

Highlighting the necessity of the transition, Lynch noted that the energy sector accounts for approximately 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“There is no getting around this fact. If we are to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must all play a proactive role in decarbonising our power sectors, just as the United States is doing,” she said.

United States President Joe Biden has committed to a plan for America, for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Lynch has offered to help connect Guyanese companies with American solutions providers who are leading the charge with renewable technologies. She also discussed the job the government has, to execute the necessary planning and investment into public infrastructure.

She underscored the need for a stable grid.

“It requires modernization with redundancies so that if one power line fails you don’t get rolling blackouts for large portions of the grid.  An updated grid must also be able to handle power fluctuations and adjust for the ebbs and flows of all kinds of power, and unexpected disruptions,” she pointed out.

Guyana intends to upgrade its grid system. It has also embarked on a years-long plan to clean up and diversify its energy mix.

Energy projects in the pipeline to help wean Guyana off heavy fuel oil, are to be drawn from various sources, including natural gas, hydro-, wind and solar power.

The landmark Gas-to-Energy and Amaila Falls projects, slated for completion in 2025 and 2027, are planned with combined capacity of 410 MW. Gas is intended for use as a transition fuel for the next 25 years as Guyana builds its renewables capacity.

Government intends for its solar power agenda to provide accumulated installed capacity of 39 MW by 2025.

A private developer plans to build a 25.2 MW wind farm at Hope Beach on the East Coast of Demerara, which could be delivered as early as the third quarter of 2023.

The Government has promised 500 MW of new power.

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