Gov’t targeting 30 megawatts green energy by 2020

-solar, hydro projects planned for Bartica, Lethem, Mahdia, other sites

David Patterson

In keeping with government’s plan to develop a green economy, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson yesterday announced that several solar and hydro projects are on track to be completed by the end of 2020 at a total capacity of around 30 megawatts.

Patterson, during a post-cabinet press briefing hosted by Minister of State Joseph Harmon, informed that at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting he presented a report on the progress made thus far.

He told reporters that by the end of 2018, government would have installed about five megawatts of renewable energy. “That is a commendable feat coming from 2015 with zero”, he said, while adding that by the end of 2020, when all of the projects would have (been) completed there will be about 29 to 30 megawatts. “So we are well on our way to achieving our target…,” he said.

Patterson reminded that when government took office, renewable energy was stressed upon as one of the pillars to creating a green economy. It is unclear whether this programme outlined by Patterson will lead to the unlocking of US$80 million, which has been lodged by the Kingdom of Norway with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). That pipeline from Guyana’s forest agreement with Norway was originally intended to be channelled to the 165-megawatt Amaila Falls Hydro-power Project (AFHP). Since that project has been shelved by the APNU+AFC administration, Oslo has said that the US$80 million would be made available when a plan is presented by Georgetown to take Guyana towards 100% renewable and green energy by 2025. Patterson’s 30 megawatts is nowhere close to the AFHP’s 165 megawatts.

Patterson said that with the naming of new towns it was the stated policy that they should all be powered by renewable energy as quickly as possible and to that end his ministry was tasked with developing a road map to achieve this.  This, he said, was done in collaboration with the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the Hinterland Electricity Corporation, Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Office of Climate Change.

Townships

Starting off with the township of Bartica, he disclosed that a 1.5 megawatt solar farm, with storage will be installed though a US$3.87 million loan from the IDB. The project, he said, will start later this year and should be completed in 18 months. H added that the feasibility study for the location has been completed 

Additionally, a one-megawatt micro hydro project will be constructed in an area just below Bartica through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), to the tune of US$5.22 million. The time frame, he said, is 2 ½ years. At the moment, technical and economic assessments are being conducted at this site, he said, before adding that it has been determined that additional topographical surveys will have to be done.

For Lethem, he said a one-megawatt farm with storage will be constructed though a US$2.6 million IDB loan. This project, he noted, should be completed in 18 months.

He said that government also plans to install a dual hydro system for Lethem, totalling 2.2 megawatts at Moco Moco and Kumu Falls. The grant funding, he said will come from UAE/GRIF. The total investment for Moco Moco is US$2.2 million while for Kumu it is US$6.42 million. The time frame for project completion, he noted, is two and a half years. A site visit to Moco Moco is scheduled for the near future and a geotechnical study, which is funded by the IDB, is presently ongoing. That report will be received in the third quarter of this year.

With regards to Mahdia, a Photovoltaic (PV) system will be installed at a cost of US$1.8 million over an 18-month period, with the commencement date being later this year. Funding will be provided by the IDB.

The 2.2-megawatt Tumatumari hydro project is also on the cards. Patterson said that at the moment the project is with a private developer, Tumatumari Holding Inc., which had pegged the investment cost at US$4.4 million. “It has been with them for quite a while. They said that they are about to do financial closure. We have given them up to the end of July, 2018, to reach financial closure with their investor,” he said, before adding that if the developer is unable to reach financial

closure, government will take over the project and “put it as one of our priority projects.”

He also said that at Mabaruma a 0.4 megawatt solar farm with storage is being installed through US$1.3 million which was allocated in the national budget. He said that it should be completed in August this year. Additionally, he said a micro hydro power (0.02 megawatt) station, funded through the national budget (approximately US$200,000), will also be installed for the benefit of the residents of this township. This small project will commence in the third quarter of this year and should be finished by mid-2019.

Additionally a utility scale, four- megawatt PV system, outfitted with a substation, funded through a grant from the Chinese government, will be initiated later this year on the West Coast Berbice. The feasibility study is being conducted at the moment and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed.

Kato, in Region Nine, will also benefit. According to the minister, a 0.1 megawatt hydro project, costing US$2 million, which is being provided by the IDB, will go ahead once the weather improves. The government, GEA and a private developer are partnering to complete this project.

The Hope Beach Wind Farm project, which is being funded by the private sector, he also said, will take about two years to be completed. He said that at the moment there is a draft agreement that is being reviewed by the developer. The size and design of the substation is the only outstanding matter left to be sorted out, he added. Once an agreement is reached with GPL on these matters, he said, the final agreement will be made so that the project can commence.

Patterson informed that funding has been secured for solar farm projects at Port Kaituma, 0.6 megawatt; Kwakwani, 1 megawatt; and Matthews Ridge, 0.4 megawatt.  Kwakwani will cost US$2.6 million, Port Kaituma US$1.8 million and Matthews Ridge US$2 million.

He also spoke about the installation of solar system on government buildings. He said that this project got underway in 2017 and to date about 2.5 megawatts of PV systems have been installed on these buildings, including the Ministry of the Presidency’s main complex. The total investment in 2017 was US$7.7 million.

He said that following the president’s visit to India in February, Guyana is now a member of the International Solar Alliance and has a US$15 million line of credit at its disposal. He said that the idea here is to use some of this money to equip indigenous villages with renewable energy. The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the Ministry of Communities, he said, have been tasked with identifying the villages that will benefit from this funding.

He anticipates that about 4 megawatts of electricity will become available under this programme.

 

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