Tuesday, December 7, 2021

10 solar farms underway for Guyana’s clean energy agenda

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Guyana has galvanized funding from various sources to finance the construction of 10 solar farms across the country, in keeping with the government’s plan to diversify its energy mix.

Using part of the proceeds from an Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) loan, the government said it intends to build 2 farms in the towns of Lethem in Region 9 and Bartica in Region 10.

The bank is lending Guyana the money under the Energy Matrix Diversification and Institutional Strengthening of the Department of Energy Project. The main objective of the programme is to support Guyana’s evolving energy sector by improving the reliability of its electricity supply, investing in sustainable energy solutions, and strengthening the country’s capacity to regulate the oil sector.

Presently, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is accepting bids to lay a total of 3 km of transmission lines to accommodate the 2 solar farms.

As for the other 8 solar farms, Guyana will fund them under the Guyana Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Programme (GUYSOL) using money it earned from Norway for keeping its forests intact.

Norway had deposited US$83.5 million into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund, an account being managed by the IADB.

Two of the project sites are located on the Essequibo coast, in Region 2; three are located in Linden, in Region 10; one is located at West Coast Berbice, in Region 5 and two are located in East Coast Berbice, Region 6.

In support of this project, Guyana’s power provider, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc., is looking for a consultant to conduct topographic surveys, flood risk assessments and geotechnical investigations. GPL wants to have all the relevant information on the ground conditions of each project site for the design to minimize risk and liability while maximizing safety and cost-effectiveness.

The 10 solar farms are mainly meant to supply electricity to off-grid areas.

The Government also in late September signed an agreement to receive a US$7.2 million line of credit from India under the Indian Technical Economic Cooperation (ITEC).

The ITEC programme which is mainly for education, training, and capacity building projects, will support Guyana’s solar agenda. In his address as he signed the agreement on Guyana’s behalf, Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh said the government intends to power 30,000 homes with electricity derived from solar energy. He said the project will have a truly transformative impact on those families.

This ambitious solar agenda, along with the government’s planned hydropower projects, is meant to complement the administration’s gas-to-energy project which will see gas being transported to shore from the Liza Phase 1 and 2 developments for the generation of low-cost energy.

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