Improved electricity supply for Berbice with Canfield substation $1.4B upgrade
Residents and businesses in Berbice, Region Six (East-Berbice Corentyne) are expected to experience a more reliable electricity supply following the completion of upgrades to the Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) Canefield Substation. The facility was re-commissioned on Monday.
David Armogan, the Regional Chairman, welcomed the completion of the $1.4 billion Japan-funded project. He believes that the upgrade brings “a lot of hope and expectations for the people of our region.”
Delivering remarks at the event, Armogan referenced frequent power outages, low voltage and fluctuation in power as major issues affecting the quality of life for people. Noting the importance of a stable power supply, the Chairman further cited that the region’s unstable power supply was often cited by Guyana Water Inc. as the main hurdle in its service delivery.
Giving a technical overview of the project executed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and officially completed on September 16, 2021, Divisional Director Projects Ryan Ross said it was “the first time that GPL/GEC has installed reactive power compensators in the transmission network.”
The Canefield Power Plant was first commissioned in the mid-1970s and had no major upgrades since a major transformer failure in 2014. Despite project setbacks ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic and bad weather, Ross shared that GPL can now use “cheaper sources of generation in Georgetown”. Other major upgrades include the installation of automated equipment and the construction of a new control building.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Japanese Government, Ambassador Tatsuo Hirayama said it was a happy moment for the Japanese government. The upgrades were done in part with a US$17 Million grant which also caters for the introduction of renewable energy.
The Ambassador shared that another renewable energy component at the CARICOM Secretariat at Turkeyen will be completed by the end of this year. He believes the future of Guyana looks “very bright” while referencing the country’s oil discoveries.
He also stressed that “it is of the utmost importance that these resources and energy are utilised in an effective and efficient manner. That is the reason why this project is appropriate and relevant to Guyana.”
Delivering the feature address, Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips thanked the Government of Japan for the grant which he described as “ground-breaking”. He shared that this was the “first in many steps towards my government’s commitment to enhancing the capacity of GPL with regard to sustainable power generation”.
Prime Minister Phillips’ address focused on the government’s future energy plans acknowledging that energy efficiency is key to all aspects of development and a high priority on their agenda. However, this must be done in the interest of Guyana’s “long term national benefits” and “considering the effects of climate change and the need to deliberate ways to better utilise renewable energy to combat global warming.”
Touching on the government’s future energy-mix plans, the Prime Minister said that the government’s aim is to provide an additional 400MW for residential and commercial users across the country.
He went on to list upcoming projects such as the completion of the once stalled Amelia Hydro Project, investments in solar and wind systems for off-grid areas and developing microgrids for large hinterland villages along with the expansion of the hinterland electrification programme and further upgrades of the national grid.
The simple ceremony ended with the unveiling of the plaque and cutting of ribbon followed by a tour of the facility by officials. (Danielle Swain)