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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Guyana’s energy costs to be halved in five years – Prime Minister

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Prime Minister of the South American country of Guyana Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips says the Government is targeting a 50 percent reduction in the cost of energy in five years as it remains committed to providing stable and reliable energy for both domestic and commercial purposes, according to a government news bulletin.

“[We] will pursue a programme with an energy mix that includes hydropower, natural gas, solar and wind, which will lead to more than 400 megawatts of newly installed capacity for residential and commercial users over the next five years, and a reduction in the cost of energy by at least 50 percent,” he said, noting that significantly upgrading the energy sector is high on his governments agenda.

The Prime Minister, who was at the time delivering remarks to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE) at a Ministerial Roundtable, also said that the Government will take urgent action to improve and upgrade the transmission and distribution of energy (the national grid).

The PM noted that Guyana’s policy to develop a low carbon and climate resilient economy is outlined in the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which mandates maintaining low deforestation rates and the sustainable use of resources over generations.

The Prime Minister noted that Latin America and the Caribbean can ensure energy access and inclusiveness as an integral part of recovery measures through improved data collection and knowledge sharing, support for investment promotion, access to grant funding and concessional financing, and the sharing of policies and programmes among other initiatives.

Head of the Energy Division, International Development Bank, Ariel Yépez, in response to the Prime Minister, congratulated Guyana for its “ambitious” energy agenda. “We are glad to hear that you are working on a huge commitment to reduce the energy access gap … congratulations,” said Yepez.

The ILA-OLADE Ministerial Roundtable is a virtual high-level dialogue in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aimed at creating insights for defining Latin America’s regional energy agenda for a post pandemic era.

The event saw the participation of several ministers from Latin American countries, heads of international organisations, and officials from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, said publicly that the new administration is reviewing studies that were done to pipe gas to shore as the project is one of top priority.

“So, we will of course have to be guided by…the best technical minds, but we want this project on the road as early as possible,” he said, pointing out that cheap and reliable power is needed “so we can generate more jobs and we also need the electricity so we can fulfill the promise we made to people that we will cut their electricity bill.”

Alistair Routledge, President of ExxonMobil Guyana, has said that affordable, reliable and cleaner energy is essential to economic progress and that compared with the current fuel oil power station, a plant fed with Guyana’s natural gas can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent, enhance security of supply and reliability, and reduce generation costs.

Guyana’s offshore exploration has so far yielded over 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent resources at the Stabroek Block, 20 percent of which is estimated to be natural gas. ExxonMobil is operator at the block.

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