By Rabindra Rooplall
International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA), one of the investors in the Hope Wind Farm Project, says the 25 megawatt facility can reduced the country’s fuel bill by US$5 million (G$1B) annually
The project, was stalled under the previous administration, is now back on the agenda. IPA is a part of Guyana Wind-Farm Incorporated, which has once again put forward an offer which could see GoldWind of China, rated at least third in the world in the establishment of wind
farms, setting up 10 wind turbines capable of generating 2.5 Megawatts of electricity each. The projected cost of the facility is US$42 million.
Lloyd Singh, the proprietor of IPA had long seen the benefits of the project, but said the initiative was frustrated by the PPP, which was in power for 23 years, but lost power to the multi-party APNU/AFC coalition last May.
“Why would a Former President (Bharrat Jagdeo) who was given the title Champion of the Earth for whatever he was doing on renewable energy not look at a broad base.
“This project could have been easily been picked up when an investor like myself and others came to your door begging for it and you didn’t want to deliver,” he said, in reference to the attitude of former President Jagdeo.
He said that the concept of the project is different from the Amaila Falls project which was proposed by the former administration but has since been put on hold.
“Unlike the Amaila Falls Project where the government is being asked to pay Amaila for the capacity that it builds, our deal was always to pay for the electricity the wind farm generates,” Singh stated.
Singh was at a loss as to why the PPP did not push ahead with the project.
“The Government of Guyana has zero investment, not a cent they have to put in it; (what was needed ) was just the green light and relevant documentation, a letter from GPL stating that all the electricity that the project can generate they will buy at 12 cents per kilowatt,” he said.
It presently costs GPL over 20 U. S. cents per kilowatt hour to generate electricity using heavy fuel oil.
He said that even if the government had to contribute financing for the project, it could have done so with funding from the forest-saving deal with Norway, which provides US$250 million for low carbon initiatives.
Last year, the then Cabinet granted approval for Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), GPL and the then Government to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of the Hope Beach Wind Farm Project. However, the investor said the terms contained in the MOU was not feasible for the development of a thriving wind farm since under the Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) arrangement the previous government made an unreasonable proposition where the startup was expected no later than a year with a BOOT period of five years.
Now, with a fresh government in place, Singh is hoping the project could finally be realized.
“I am hoping the present administration will move as quickly as possible to get this project going.”
He said the project documents on the Hope Beach project is almost 12 years old so the investors are saying that they need new data.
“We have already invested in a tower there and in another month it will be one year old; that is how long a verification tower is there for the investors. The new finding recently revealed that the new turbine towers don’t have to be 90 meters since the wind is enough at 80 meters for generation.”
He explained that the wind vein has shown that Hope Beach has a consistent flow of wind like no other part along the East Coast of Demerara.
According to Singh, by the end of the third phase, the project could provide up to 65 megawatts of electricity.
Adding that if phase two and three are implemented, he said 65 megawatts can be added to the power grid. Renewable energy, particularly wind is available 24 hours x 7 days a week, throughout a year.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had determined that the project would not have a negative impact on its surroundings.
“The applications have been screened to assess the potential environmental impacts and it has been determined that an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) be conducted for the above-mentioned projects by an independent body for submission and approval by the agency,” a notice published last year in the newspapers stated.
The ESMP detailed specific measures and processes to be undertaken by the company to ensure that the proposed project is implemented in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner.
Electricity can be produced by using wind turbines and wind farms. Wind turbines in recent years have become a popular form of renewable and clean energy.