In the wake of rapid economic growth, Guyana is witnessing its highest-ever electricity generation and demand. According to a September 29 notice from Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL), the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (Guyana’s central grid system) recorded a peak demand of 182 megawatts (MW), a stark increase from last year’s 154 MW.
The primary causes for the surge in electricity demand, the utility company said, are the rising temperatures in recent months coupled with expansion in the housing and commercial sectors. It sees increased use of air conditioning units and fans as a significant contributor and complained about these devices being left on in vacant homes and businesses, leading to energy wastage.
“This situation is not unique to GPL, as countries around the Caribbean and the world are facing similar energy challenges. Neighbouring Trinidad recorded its highest-ever electricity consumption in August,” GPL stated.
To address this, GPL is actively urging its customers to adopt more energy-conscious habits. They recommend actions like unplugging appliances when not in use, turning off fans and lights before exiting rooms, ensuring devices left plugged in are set to energy-saving mode, using LEDs for their energy efficiency, and encouraging businesses, especially large-scale factories and manufacturers, to optimise their production schedules to conserve electricity.
GPL has already been battling years of instability and blackouts linked to a transmission system in dire need of modernisation.
While the growing electricity demand threatens to outpace supply, Guyana’s future seems promising. The upcoming Gas-to-Energy project, scheduled to be operational by the end of 2024, is expected to provide a significant boost to the nation’s power generation capabilities. By tapping into the natural gas from the Stabroek Block’s Liza oilfield, this project will enable the transportation of gas to an integrated gas processing facility at Wales. This will not only aid in meeting domestic electricity demands but also significantly reduce electricity rates for consumers.
Guyana currently has some of the region’s highest electricity rates. However, with the Gas-to-Energy project’s completion, the government aims to slash the cost of power by half. Transitioning from imported heavy fuel oil to natural gas will also lead to a considerable decrease in emissions. Additional benefits to locals include access to reduced rates for cooking gas and fertilisers, and commercialising the remaining NGLs.
In parallel with these developments, Guyana is also investing in renewable energy projects, primarily solar, aligning itself with global sustainability goals.