PSC Chairman joins call for hydropower development
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Mr Ramesh Persaud – Chairman of the PSC.
Mr Ramesh Persaud – Chairman of the PSC.

CHAIRMAN of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Mr. Ramesh Persaud is the most recent stakeholder to endorse a move towards the development of hydropower in Guyana, basing it on his contention that energy costs are impeding growth.

Energy cost is indeed a very significant impediment to the growth of Guyana’s manufacturing sector. However, that is not the only one, as providers of services are adopting the use of more Information Communication Technology (ICT) and other enhanced techniques such as robotics and sensors, he agreed in an invited comment.
According to him, cheap supply can increase Guyana’s competitiveness in the several emerging sectors, since it is more economical to establish “energy farms” as compared to paying “significant costs” for fossil fuels.
He continued: “It can be a catalyst for the transformation of our local transportation sector through the use of more hybrid and electric powered vehicles both for commuter and freight purposes.
“Enhanced agricultural systems due to the ability of farmers to adopt gadgets required to be powered by electricity. For example, photocells used to improve photosynthesis of crops in greenhouses and pumps used for drip irrigation.
“Advanced technologies can be adopted in classrooms making our education systems better. More advanced medical equipment can be adopted to better enhance health care.

“…I could keep going on and on with regards to the advances our economy could make if we were guaranteed cheap energy,” he posited.
The PSC Chairman also referred to the possibility of Guyana being able to export surplus hydropower to the Caribbean, as highlighted by President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, during the 44th annual Board of Governors meeting, in the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC), Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.
“It was remarkable to hear the CDB President’s acknowledgement of Guyana’s potential for the use and supply of hydropower…the impact of that will be great for our economy,” he said.
Smith had acknowledged the role of renewable energy in unlocking opportunities for competitiveness and growth in the Region and emphasised Guyana’s huge potential for economic benefits through the development of hydropower.
“Guyana alone has enough renewable energy potential, mainly in the form of hydropower to meet all of its electricity requirements for the foreseeable future, supply all of the needs of immediate neighbours, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, and still have enough left over to sell to neighbouring Brazil,” he asserted.
To this end, Persaud stressed that Guyana’s leaders have to ensure that the country moves at a faster pace towards the realisation of hydropower.

“The longer they delay this, the longer it will take for our population to come out of the stranglehold of poverty and under development,” he declared.
Slated to be this nation’s most ambitious undertaking, the Amaila Falls Hydro Project (AFHP) is touted to be able to provide Guyanese with a cheaper, reliable and sustainable electricity supply. It involves the construction of a hydropower plant in the area of West-Central Guyana, where the Amaila and Kuribrong rivers meet. Electric current produced there would be delivered to Georgetown and Guyana’s second largest town, Linden.
The AFHP is anticipated to result in substantial savings to the nation’s coffers, particularly in terms of foreign exchange and the purchase of heavy fuel oil.
Additionally, the potential benefits of a more stable and reliable source of energy through the advance of hydroelectricity was also targeted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), last December, as an area for continued focus.
On July 18, 2013, the combined Opposition in Parliament defeated the Hydroelectric Power (Amendment) Bill in the National Assembly and, in August, the Government took the legislation back to the House Assembly and received the backing of the Alliance For Change (AFC) but A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) voted down the bill and motion.
However, the current People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration has since made public its commitment to ensuring that hydropower is a realisation for Guyana.

(By Vanessa Narine)

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