Guyana’s move towards a greener economy by utilizing alternative sources of energy continues to be backed by the strong and commendable efforts of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA). Over the years, the entity has made some significant headway in solar and hydropower initiatives.
In fact, engineers from the Guyana Energy Agency, during 2015, installed 11 energy efficient LED solar-powered street lights, bringing the total number of installed solar-powered street lights to 13, with resultant annual savings of about G$800,000 per year.
The first solar powered street light amounted to $278,300 in 2014 while the second unit was installed at a cost of G$209,800. In 2015, GEA was able to reduce the cost to G$197,000 installed as a result of reduced prices and improved design and construction. The entity, through competitive bidding, was also able to procure a 10 kWp solar PV system which will be installed at the Agency’s head office in the first quarter of 2016. This will result in additional annual savings of G$920,000, avoided carbon dioxide emissions of 8.8 tons annually, reduced electricity costs, reduced carbon dioxide emis sions and increased utilization of renewable energy.
When completed, the 10 kWp PV system along with an existing 8.46 kWp PV system would supply approximately 23,652 kWh of energy annually to the GEA building. With an annual energy requirement of 47,800 kWh at the GEA, approximately 49 percent of the energy requirement would be generated form a renewable source. This is in keeping with GEA’s plan to become a net producer of energy from renewable resources.
With regard to hydropower, there has been a boost in recent years in the process of creating interconnections between isolated systems or strengthening the link between systems already interconnected to ensure greater reliability and security levels, to increase power exchanges on an economic basis and to increase exploitation of cleaner resources for the production of electricity.
According to GEA, the integration process of the national power systems is now influencing the North-eastern part of South America, where the transmission networks of Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil are still isolated from each other. All these countries are fast growing with a GDP compound annual growth rate ranging between 2.7% (in Brazil) and 4.5% (in Guyana).
The economic development of this region along with the expected increase of electricity customers (about 4.5% per annum in the next fourteen years) prompts remarkable electricity demand growth both in energy and in peak power consumption.
To keep up with the electricity demand increase, it is recommended by GEA that the Arco Norte countries undertake robust generation expansion plans trying to exploit as much as possible the local primary energy resources (mainly hydro, but also oil and biomass), while minimising the environmental impact.
The GEA with support from GPL has been coordinating with other Arco Norte countries to gather information to support an IDB funded pre-feasibility study to explore the possibility of such an interconnection and generation expansion project.
As part of the collaboration between Brazil and Guyana on the development of the Upper and Middle Mazaruni hydroelectric project, with capacities of 3000MW and 1500MW respectively, a team comprising representatives from the GEA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited the Tucuruí hydropower plant found in the state of Pará on the Tocantins River in Brazil. The site was chosen because of its similarities with the Upper and Middle Mazaruni hydroelectric initiative.
Furthermore, Hydropower Support Engineers of GEA commenced preparation of a project for a hydropower project at Hosororo, Region One (Barima Waini). The project proposes to install a 15 to 20 kW hydropower plant with the assistance from REETA/GIZ working along with in-house engineers and resources.
In an effort to build technical capacities in the field of hydropower development, the GEA and REETA, through consultations, agreed on a TOR for a consultant to work alongside GEA’s engineers to develop a small hydropower scheme.
The Hosororo site was once considered for development as a micro hydro facility in order to supply an agro industrial project. This was done in 1985 by Terrence Fletcher and Associates Limited.
During a recent assessment of the facility and its environs, it was observed that two government establishments, National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) Turmeric processing facility (under construction) and the Hosororo Primary School exist, which can benefit the development of a micro hydro plant. They are both within one kilometre of the hydro scheme with NARI being the closest. There is also a possibility for tourism near the proposed site.
Additionally, GEA partnered with the University of Guyana and two students from the Department of Civil Engineering and from Faculty of Earths and Environment were identified to help conduct a Topographic Survey and Environmental Scoping assessment at the site. GEA and GWI are currently discussing options for shared use of the water resources.
It was also noted that the GEA and Guyana’s Hydromet office provided support in the testing of a small hydropower turbine for providing energy to riverine villages and communities around Guyana. It was documented that the unit has a 5kW capacity and needs a velocity of 2 m/s or more to operate at its optimum.
Additionally, velocity measurements of the Saint Francis Creek, Moraikobai, Region Five was done at two points to determine if the Creek can support the hydropower turbine. However, upon completion of the exercise, velocities of 0.3m/s – 0.4m/s were recorded which meant that the characteristics of the river did not support what was required by the turbine.
The GEA also stated that based on a 1977 study by M. Singh, Specialist Engineer (Designs), attached to the Hydropower Division of Guyana Natural Resources Agency (GNRA), Kumu, located in Region Nine, may be suited for a small scale hydropower generation with a potential of 0.1MW.
Furthermore, GEA’s Hydropower Support Engineers also installed a water level logger in 2014 to collect data and prepare a feasibility study for the Kumu Falls. As part of the feasibility study activities, the Hydropower Support Engineers delineated the boundaries of the watershed/catchment area.