Guyana’s first integrated power plant is not yet ready but the country is already mulling a second, in anticipation of an exponential demand surge. This is according to its President, Irfaan Ali.
“Already, based on our assessment, the power plant that we are engaged in now from the natural gas will be inadequate for the type of development that will come our way,” he told representatives of Guyana’s private sector in an address on Feb. 7.
Current output has trouble meeting demand, and this leads to frequent power outages sometimes countrywide. The government found a reliable solution with offshore natural gas. The gas plant is being built for the Gas-to-Energy project, set to utilize 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from offshore fields to generate 300 megawatts (MW) of power. It is expected to be operational in 2025. There is also the Amaila Falls hydropower project expected to deliver 165 MW of clean energy, though it is yet to be operationalized. But they might not be enough.
“…so we have to already think about the second power plant…whether there is [an] opportunity,” he added.
Rapid economic growth foisted Guyana’s electricity generation and demand to its highest ever last year. Guyana’s grid – the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System – recorded a peak demand of 182 MW, a stark increase from 2022’s 154 MW. They likened it to the increased use of air conditioning units, fans and the ongoing boom of Guyana’s construction and hospitality sectors.
That demand is expected to shoot up further.
Already studies have begun to ascertain which Stabroek block projects can use the additional capacity of the Gas-to-Energy pipeline. Constructed by ExxonMobil, the pipeline will be transporting 50 million cubic feet of gas per day to the gas plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara. But, it will be able to transport as much as 130 million cubic feet per day.
The Gas-to-Energy project is poised to be the most transformative for Guyana’s development trajectory. The initiative is expected to allow for a 50% reduction in electricity costs and a new era of industrialization. Guyana and the ExxonMobil-led consortium are executing the project.