Georgetown, Guyana – (December 23, 2016) Guyana’s long term energy plan for the transition to the increased use of renewable energy is expected to be presented to Cabinet by mid-January. Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson, in an invited comment, earlier today, said that “final touches are being made to the draft document” and once Cabinet has had their input, it will be released to the wider public. He also noted that the Government is committed to exploring all avenues for the development of renewable energy in keeping with its ‘green’ development agenda.
This comes even as the Government of Norway has released the report on the review of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) done by Norconsult, an engineering and design consultancy firm out of Norway contracted by the Government of Norway to complete an ‘objective and facts-based’ assessment of the project on the agreement of two Governments.
Though the project is just one of several renewable energy options being looked at by Guyana, Government believes that the Report identifies several risks and flaws in the design of the project, which will threaten its long-term effectiveness and prove too costly and burdensome to the people of Guyana and the country as a small developing state.
The Government considers this review of utmost importance as it provides indisputable evidence to support the position taken while in opposition that the Hydropower project in its current configuration does not meet minimum requirements to ensure its viability and longevity. It is the view of the Government that the Norconsult Report has given credence to its position on the need for an energy mix to increase the country’s share of renewable energy by close to 100 percent by the year 2025. The Report also provides supporting evidence that the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project would not be optimal in its current model and presents an unbalanced risk to the Government and People of Guyana.
Rectifying the many issues identified will increase the total cost of the project substantially, thereby impacting the tariff rates from the outset. Additionally, there are at least six more years of work to be completed, including a minimum three years of water flow study and analysis on the project.
Having studied the Report and conscious of the specific needs of the country, the Government of Guyana proposes to utilise a mix of energy options, starting with less risky options such as solar and wind, as outlined in Budget 2017.
Provisions have been made for expansion of the scope of clean, alternative energy in the country resulting in more reliable electricity supply; the establishment of programmes to promote energy efficiency at a household level for financial savings to householders; budgetary allocations of almost $1 billion dollars for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the rooftops of 64 Government buildings; the installation of a large scale solar farm in Mabaruma with smaller solar farms in Lethem, Mahdia and Bartica; a one off tax holiday concession of two years for corporation tax to the business community for the importation of items related to wind and solar energy investments, water treatment, waste disposal and recycling facilities and the replacement of inefficient lights with their energy efficient counterparts.
Itemised below are some of the risks and flaws identified in the report: