100% renewable energy deadline needs to be reviewed

-energy official tells parliamentary committee

Guyana’s ambitious goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2025 will have to be reviewed in light of the discovery of oil and natural gas resources and the dynamic nature of the energy sector, according to Shevon Wood, Head of the Energy and Energy Statistics Division of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA).

“Even as we progress, new information and new studies are being done that would speak to the need for a review of the target,” Wood said on Friday during a presentation to the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Relations at the Public Buildings.

“At this point, natural gas is positioned as a transitional fuel to get to a renewable energy position. Where we are with diesel generation, it would provide for cleaner generation in the energy sector,” she noted.

This year, she said, the GEA received support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to update the power generation study to inform the renewable energy target. Wood noted that studies on power generation expansion and renewable energy and distribution generation, which were done in 2016, have recommended the review of the 2025 target.

Wood was supported by Janelle Christian, Head of the Office of Climate Change in the Ministry of the Presidency, who said that given what has been coming out of the studies, realistically, “there are so many things to be considered as a country to get to any ambition.”

These require lots of finances, infrastructure, capacity issues and policy change, she said.

“We are looking at legislation, even the functions of the current agencies in light of oil and everything else,” she noted. “I believe that given the extensive research… over the last three years or so, it is clear that we cannot reach to the goal of 100 percent by 2025 for renewable energy. If you pick up any of those reports, you would see what those road maps and transition plans are saying,” she added.

Committee chairperson Gail Teixeira said that the presenters who appeared before the committee should inform the politicians about the current position because the target has been set. “It is only because we asked you to come to the Parliament we are hearing there is a consideration to review. Otherwise, what is out there on the websites is that we have 100 percent renewable energy by 2025,” she told the presenters.   

Wood noted that a feasibility study for an offshore natural gas pipeline, a separation plant and electricity infrastructure are currently being done with the objective of using liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as a transitional fuel towards renewable energy. 

Teixeira said the presenters should ask the politicians in government to inform the public where some of these things are going in order to have full disclosure and more transparency on governance issue in terms of the country’s commitments.

In addition to the studies, Wood said, there are policies currently in draft format. These include the National Energy Policy, the Energy Transition Road Map and the Green State Development Strategy documents, which are in the process of being developed. 

On the Green Public Sector Initiative, she said, 90 public buildings are targeted for retrofitting with solar PV systems this year. In 2017, she said that 70 buildings, including the Public Buildings, would have received a solar PV system.    

On the construction of small hydropower systems, including the reconstruction of the Moco Moco hydropower station in the Rupununi, she said, the GEA was being supported over the past two years by a hydropower specialist, who is reviewing a lot of the projects to get them to the stage of feasibility. The Moco Moco at project is at the financing stage and funding is being sought from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (CREF) and officials from the UAE CREF are due to visit. A geotechnical study to guide the civil works on the site, with funding from the IDB, is also taking place.

Feasibility studies have also been completed for Kato, Hosororo, Itiribisi and Kumu. A private developer is building the hydro power facility at Tumatumari. Wood noted that feasibility studies are also to be undertaken for Eclipse Falls in Region One and for Parima in Region Seven and Chenapow in Region Eight.

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