–initiative to result in the supply of affordable, clean energy to 27,000 households in parts of Essequibo, Linden, Berbice
GUYANA and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), on Tuesday, signed a US$83.3 million agreement to advance transformative solar power projects under the Guyana Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Programme (GUYSOL).
The agreement signed by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh and IDB Resident Representative (ag) Lorena Solorzano-Salazar, paves the way for investments in eight utility scale photovoltaic solar projects totalling 33 MWp to bring affordable and clean energy to 27,000 households in targeted communities across Guyana.
Specifically, the objective of the programme is to support the diversification of Guyana’s energy matrix to expand the use of cleaner and renewable energy sources in the electricity generation matrix.
The intention is to avoid CO2 emissions with the development of solar PV generation plants and lower the cost of electricity generation while supporting the country’s transition towards renewable energy-based generation.
The project also aims to improve the operation and reliability of the isolated systems of Essequibo and Linden.
As part of the programme, there will be 10 MWp of generation capacity connected to the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) in the Berbice Area; eight MWp in the Essequibo Coast Isolated System, including a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with a minimum capacity of 12 MWh, and 15 MWp connected to the Linden Isolated System, inclusive of a BESS with a minimum capacity of 22 MWh.
Each facility will be connected to the 13.8 kV primary distribution network in the respective areas.
The US$83.3 million being used for this programme is part of the US$220.8 million earned by Guyana for forest climate services through its partnership with Norway during the previous People’s Progressive Party/ Civic’s (PPP/C’s) term in office.
At that time, then President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, visualised, spearheaded and implemented Guyana’s first Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
The earnings from Norway have since been invested into several key adaptation and socio-economic projects which have benefitted Guyanese all across the country.
Some of the projects include the Micro and Small Enterprise Development project; Amerindian Land Titling, the Amerindian Development Fund, the Cunha Canal adaptation, sustainable land development, monitoring, reporting and verification; and ICT access and e-services for hinterland, poor and remote communities.
Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, who was present at the signing, said that the programme, once implemented, will benefit thousands of persons in the country including women in rural areas.
He also reminded that it will assist Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) in decreasing fossil fuel use and moving to greater use of renewable energy.
“So it is a transformative project for Guyana. We are thankful that the IDB has been working side by side with Guyana to utilise this money that was lying in an account for over six years and we are thankful for them bringing us to the stage at which we are,” the Prime Minister said.
Prior to signing the agreement, the Dr. Singh reflected on the history of the LCDS through which the finance for the project was secured.
“This allocation of over US$80 million has its roots in the original Low Carbon Development Strategy and the Guyana REDD Plus investment fund which was established under the original LCDS, and at the time these resources were set aside to invest in renewable energy with the IDB as the implementing partner entity. This amount was in fact intended originally as government’s contribution to the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project.
“We had, at that time, a major investor, the Blackstone Group, which was willing to do the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project, but political events intervened as a result of which that project was stalled and ultimately derailed and for more than five years; these resources ended up being parked in the IDB,” the senior minister said.
Addressing the importance of the potential projects, Solorzano-Salazar said: “This operation is framed within the partnership that Guyana had with Norway and will especially take the country to 19 per cent renewables of the grid within about three years. So, this is an important milestone. This is in line with a kind of transformative change that is fully aligned with the IDB Vision 2025 and positive impacts of renewables ….and augurs well for Guyana.”
The signing ceremony was also attended by Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar; Infrastructure Manager of the IDB, Ariel Yepez-Garcia; Project Coordinator, Department of Environment and Climate Change, Office of the President, Nikolaus Oudkerk; Chief Projects Officer, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Tarachand Balgobin; Deputy Chief Executive Officer-Strategic Operations, Guyana Power and Light Incorporated, Samaroo Ramtahal, other representatives of the IDB and technical staff of the Ministry of Finance.