Solar power deal sealed with $83.3m Norwegian funds
Yesterday the government sealed a deal for 33 megawatts (MW) of solar power funded by $83.3 million in funds from Norway, stemming from a groundbreaking forest protection agreement signed between Georgetown and Oslo in 2009.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President in charge of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh signed the pact with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which acts as an intermediary. A Ministry of Finance statement said the Guyana Utility-Scale Solar PV (GUYSOL) program is paving the way for investments in eight utility-scale solar PV projects totaling 33 MW to bring affordable and clean energy to targeted communities in Guyana. . Signing the agreement on behalf of the IDB was its resident representative (ag) Lorena Solorzano-Salazar.
Thirty-three MW of solar power represents Guyana’s largest ever pivot to clean, renewable energy. The $83.3 million was originally earmarked for the PPP/C’s controversial Amaila Falls hydroelectric project, but the former UNPA+AFC administration later struck a deal with Norway for the money to be earmarked solar powered.
The statement from the ministry indicates that the investments will be made in the solar photovoltaic power plants as follows:
a) 10 MWp of generation capacity connected to the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) in the Berbice area
b) 8 MWp in the Essequibo Coastal Isolated System, including a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with a minimum capacity of 12 MWh; and
c) 15 MWp connected to the Linden isolated system, including 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 statement said the program will provide 27,000 households with affordable and clean energy and is expected to benefit more than 70,000 households.
The statement pointed out that the US$83.3 million used for this program is part of the US$220.8 million earned by Guyana for forest climate services through its partnership with Norway during the Party’s previous term. People’s Progressive/Civic (PPP/C). Other revenues from the project have since been invested in various areas, including the Micro and Small Enterprise Development Project; Native American Land Titles, Native American Development Fund, Cunha Canal Adaptation, Sustainable Land Development, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification; and access to ICTs and online services for remote, poor and remote communities.
Prime Minister Mark Phillips said that once implemented, the program will benefit thousands of people in the country, including women in rural areas. He also recalled that it will help Guyana Power and Light reduce the use of fossil fuels and shift to greater use of renewable energy.
“So this is a transformative project for Guyana. We are grateful that the IDB has worked side by side with Guyana to use this money which has been in an account for over six years and we are grateful that they have brought us to the stage where we are, ”added the Prime Minister.
Before signing the deal, the statement said Singh reflected on the history of the low-carbon development strategy through which funding for the project was secured.
“This allocation of over eighty million US dollars has its roots in the Guyana REDD Plus Low Carbon Development Strategy and Investment Fund which was established under the original LCDS, and the time when these resources were earmarked for investing in renewable energy with the IsDB as the Implementing Partner Entity, this amount was in fact originally intended as the Government‘s contribution to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. We had a major investor at the time, the Blackstone Group, which was ready to carry out the Amaila Falls hydroelectric project, but political events intervened following which this project was blocked and ultimately derailed and for more than five years, these resources ended being parked in the IDB,” Singh said.
In her brief remarks before the signing, IDB Resident Representative (ag) Solorzano-Salazar said, “This operation is part of the partnership that Guyana had with Norway and will notably bring the country to 19% grid renewables within about three years. it is therefore an important step. This is in line with a kind of transformative change that is fully aligned with the IDB Vision 2025 and the positive impacts of renewable energy…and bodes well for Guyana.
The statement said the objective of the program is to support the diversification of Guyana’s energy matrix towards the use of cleaner and renewable energy sources in the electricity generation matrix. The program aims in particular to (i) avoid CO 2 emissions with the development of solar PV production plants and (ii) reduce the cost of electricity production while supporting the country’s transition to production based on renewable energies. renewable; and (iii) improve the operation and reliability of the isolated Essequibo and Linden systems.