Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Guyana’s energy sector gets GY$29.4B in National Budget to kick start hydropower, solar projects

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Guyana’s industrial development has been stymied by “inadequate, unreliable, costly, and environmentally unfriendly energy” for too long but with some GY$29.4 billion (US$147 million) set aside for the country’s energy sector, that is about to change.

Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh outlined in Wednesday’s budget presentation that the funds will see the construction of several energy projects including the government’s flagship Ameila Falls Hydropower Project scheduled to start this year.

Ameila is expected to supply some 165 megawatts (MW) of power and already, Dr. Singh said negotiations are underway with an international company to get the project started and completed by 2027.

The project will be developed under a build-own operate-transfer (BOOT) arrangement within which the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) will purchase power from the operator under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

“Once operationalised, the facility will significantly reduce the cost of energy for both businesses and households,” the finance minister said in his presentation.

The government has also advanced the process for a 1.5 MW hydropower plant to be constructed at Kumu and for the rehabilitation and upgrade to 700-kilowatt (kW) capacity of the defunct Moco Moco hydropower plant in Region Nine.

Over GY$600 million (US$3 million) has been budgeted for both projects this year.

Added to that, GY$170 million (US$850,000) has also been budgeted for the completion of the 150kW hydropower scheme at Kato and for 30,000 photovoltaic home systems for hinterland and riverain areas.

Also, $1.1 billion is budgeted for solar farm interventions in 2022. These include the completion of the 1.5 MW solar farm at Bartica, 0.75 MW at Wakenaam and the 1.0 MW at Lethem.

“We will also tender for a 0.6 MW solar farm at Leguan and a 0.65 MW farm at Mahdia later this year,” the finance minister added.

Further, over GY$450 million (US$ 2,250,000) has been budgeted to expand and upgrade the hinterland electrification and power generation capacity through the purchase of generators and the expansion of distribution lines.

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