–company looking to expand transmission system to all major load centres, says CEO
WITH the demand for electricity on the rise, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) has formulated a US$293 million “master plan” for its old transmission and distribution network.
The plan will focus on forecasting generation and transmission demands by as much as 30 years from now.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GPL, Bharat Dindyal, explained that although the plan has been formulated, it would take the company somewhere between five to eight years to implement.
Speaking during a recent virtual panel discussion organised by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Dindyal said as it is now, the power company is examining viable sources of funding for this project.
In responding to questions about how the company is dealing with scheduled and unscheduled power outages, Dindyal related that the proposed project would be a complex one as it would require the entire rebuilding of the current network, even as the company continues to provide electricity.
“We have developed a master plan for transmission and distribution, it is about US$293 million and we are thinking this could be implemented over a five to eight-year period. This calls for a complete rebuilding of the existing network and while we are trying to rebuild the existing network, we have to continue to provide the service,” Dindyal explained.
Further, he said that the company is examining a combination of grant and loan resources to fund the proposed massive infrastructural upgrade.
“We are looking at several potential sources… we are looking at raising this money every possible way… grant funding and concessional funding afterwards,” Dindyal said, noting: “Our main source has been [the] Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)…there are other institutions interested, but at the end of the day we have to ensure that it is manageable.”
The ultimate intention of the company is to build-out the transmission system to all the major load centres, and centralise power generation.
With Guyana poised for major housing development, Dindyal was also grilled about the company’s capacity to prepare for the increased transmission requirements that will be placed on the company’s resources.
In response, he related that the company has already been putting much thought into its future prospects.
“We are doing a 30-year forecast, where we actually have to invest in generation resources. One of the things we are looking at now is a window to 2040 – 2050. To look at what will be our ideal transmission voltage so that we can design lines with that capability and move from 69,000 [KVA, where we are currently at] to 230,000 [KVA]; but if we need to go higher to say 375,000 to meet the needs… we have to build those lines now with those capabilities and of course switch to the correct voltage as the situation so demands,” Dindyal reasoned.
He noted that there are some challenges involved in the establishment of a sufficient transmission network, primarily the density of Guyana’s population being centralised to the narrow, low coastal plain, which does not provide many alternative routes for the laying out of the transmission systems.
“There are only so many routes for transmission. Up the East Coast we will have a problem in building out more and more transmission lines,” Dindyal related.
As it pertains to generation and increased capacity, Dindyal noted the country’s move towards the 300-megawatt gas-to-shore project which will form part of a multi-source generation, which will also include power from other projects involving several renewable energy sources including hydro, solar, wind and biomass.