Article Republished By Javier Troconis
With solar, hydro, wind and gas…
LCDS Series Pt 4
Kaieteur News – It is a well established fact that Guyana has some of the highest electricity rates in the Americas. But if she is to stimulate growth and meet growing power demands, transitioning to cleaner energy sources is an imperative.
By utilizing natural gas, hydropower, solar and wind power, the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 states that Guyana can undergo one of the world’s most ambitious energy transitions and grow the economy up to five-fold, while keeping greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation at around 2019 levels.
With respect to hydropower, the document notes that Guyana has a potential for 8.5 Gigawatt (GW) of hydropower on 33 plants (including storage capacity and run-of-river). It is anticipated that Guyana will build two hydro plants over the next 20 years: Amaila Falls and another which will be identified soon.
As regards solar power, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is expected to have its first solar on-grid PV farm in Berbice in 2023 with a total capacity of 10 megawatts-peak (MWp) financed by the Guyana-Norway Partnership. This solar PV farm will generate one percent of the total energy demand in Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS).
LCDS 2030 states that the Government has already secured US$75 million funding – including US$63 million from the Guyana-Norway partnership – to implement 27.8MWp capacity of solar PV farms in eight different grids to convert those grids in hybrid systems. Those systems will be in operation by 2023 and by then Essequibo coast, Linden, Bartica, Lethem, Mabaruma, Mahdia, Leguan and Wakenaam grids will have an average of 30 percent of their electricity consumed generated by solar PV.
In a second phase of the programme for the Hinterland grids, there is a planned increase of the Renewable Energy share to an average of 50 percent. Solar PV with battery storage will be the main renewable energy resource on the regional grids.
As for wind power, Guyana’s coast is exposed to the steady Northeast trade winds. As such, a private developer has installed a tower with a wind speed data logger to measure the potential to install large wind turbines. The project is expected to provide 25MW of power. Plans are also in place to conduct wind measurements along the coast and at Leguan. The measures taken in the other locations together with the practical experience from the 25MW wind farm installation will inform the design of the future wind programme.
As regards the use of natural gas, the government in collaboration with ExxonMobil is pursing the development of a gas-to-energy project. It is anticipated that the project would produce 250MW of power by 2024.
With the foregoing energy mix, Guyana is poised to unleash its economic potential in the years to come.
ABOUT LCDS 2030
LCDS 2030 outlines how the Government of Guyana will accelerate economic growth and development in a non-polluting, low carbon way. It outlines how Guyana will utilize and monetize its natural resources such as its lush and pristine forests in a sustainable manner so as to combat the impacts of climate change.
The document also ensures the country’s world-class forests, biodiversity, water and marine resources are valued for the vital contribution they make to the health of the planet.
The current draft that was launched by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali in late 2021 is undergoing a period of consultation with citizens on how the nation can re-double its efforts towards achieving the outlined vision, the roots of which can be traced back to 2009.
In 2009, Guyana had launched the first Low-carbon Development Strategy from a developing country, setting out a vision for inclusive, sustainable development, while simultaneously maintaining the country’s forests, about 85% of the country’s territory, to help meet some of the most urgent challenges the world faces.
There is no doubt that Guyana intends to stay true to the vision set out in 2009 which is to create a model low-carbon economy for the world.
Since 2009 however, local authorities have gained a greater understanding of the outsized contribution Guyana’s ecosystems make to the world’s health and economy, as well as its role as one of the world’s most important countries for biodiversity conservation.
Here are some interesting facts about the important role Guyana’s forests play as noted in the LCDS 2030.
• Guyana has the second highest percentage of forest cover on earth and is working with partners to sustain 99.5% of that forest while building the foundation for a new low carbon, ecosystem economy. Government has said it expects to tap opportunities to access a market mechanism for forest climate services and other ecosystem services. This will enable Guyana to store 19.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (the measure used for greenhouse gas emissions).
• Deforestation rates are among the lowest in the world and Guyana is one of only four countries in the world (and one of only two in the Amazon Basin) verified to have sustained a High Forest Low Deforestation (HFLD) state.
• Guyana is one of four countries which host the Guiana Shield, one of the most pristine rainforest landscapes in the world. The Guiana Shield stores around 18% of the world’s tropical forest carbon and 20% of the world’s fresh water.
• Guyana has already earned income under a payment for ecosystem services. Over the period 2010 to 2015, the Guyana Norway Agreement on climate and forests saw Guyana earning US$220 million which saw over 2,000 jobs created under the micro and small enterprise project; 180 communities and villages receiving funding to strengthen entrepreneurship in Amerindian village economies; the Amerindian Land Titling Programme advanced with 13 villages issued with Absolute Grants, bringing the total number of Absolute Grants to 109. Furthermore, 21 villages were demarcated, 19 were issued with certificates of title, bringing total Certificates of Title to 96. Additionally, more than 500 villagers trained in Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), mediation and awareness exercises. Additionally the Guyana Norway Agreement provided financing for the rehabilitation of the Cunha Canal, provided finance for the first utility scale solar project in Guyana, and is financing the establishment of 200 ICT hubs in hinterland and rural areas.
LCDS 2030 is currently undergoing a period of national consultation. Once this is completed, the LCDS will be finalised and then tabled in the National Assembly.