BUDGET 2019: First electric cars to be tested; Gov’t seeks $3.6B for GPL

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The Government in 2019 will be piloting the “first ever” electric vehicle in the public service, with the accompanying solar charging station.

According to Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in his 2019 Budget speech, the Government hopes that by leading by example, households and the private sector will be encouraged “to enthusiastically join in the national effort to use energy efficiently and reduce our carbon emissions.”

To encourage this, the Government also proposed in the 2019 Budget, changes to the Wear and Tear Schedule of the Income Tax Act for capital investments in renewable and alternative energy, and further tax exemptions for hybrid or electric cars of a certain capacity as well as electric motor cycles.

The Government is also seeking approval for $3.6B for the Guyana Power and Light Company in the 2019 National Budget.

The sum, which forms part of the $8.9B allocated to the Energy sector, is expected to be used for the rehabilitation of over 800 kilometres Guyana Power and Light Inc.‘s low and medium voltage network, spanning from Parika to Corentyne.

Works will also be advanced at the Kingston, Georgetown and Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara (WCD).

GPL is also expected to continue its implementation of the smart metering programme and strengthen its management and governance structure.

“These works focus on the reduction of overall electricity losses, both technical and commercial and the improvement of safety and reliability of the system,” Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said during his presentation of the Budget to the National Assembly on Monday.

The Government will continue the installation of LED lights, motion sensors, as well as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels across public buildings.

There will be the installation of PV panels on an additional 80 government buildings as well as 400 stand-alone solar powered streetlamps across regions, which will result in estimated savings of $114 million, annually, the Minister said.

To complement its solar interventions, the Government is in discussions with international financiers for the development of mini-hydro projects.

The Finance Minister announced that the Hosororo Hydropower Project and the Mabaruma PV Farm will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2019.

Feasibility studies have been completed for the installation of solar PV farms in the townships of Bartica, Lethem and Mahdia, as well.

Additionally, $101M has been budgeted to expand the hinterland electrification programme to Orealla, Kwakwani, Siparupa and Waramouri, among others. The programme is currently benefiting communities such as Port Kaituma, Moco Moco and Lethem.

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