APNU/AFC’s major renewable energy projects remain incomplete

first_imgAfter almost 5 years in officeAfter almost five years in Government, the Public Infrastructure Ministry has only been able to install solar panels and energy-efficient lights, while a number of major projects that Government had announced would lead to renewable energy remain unfinished, even as elections and the end of a term in office draws closer.The Public Infrastructure Ministry held a press conference on Wednesday, where an account was given for the Ministry’s performance for last year. When it comes to energy, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson announced that they installed 81 solar panels on Government buildings for 2019.Public Infrastructure Minister David PattersonHe also noted that at a cost of $165 million, over 20,000 energy-efficient lights were changed in the hinterland. But projects such as the Hope wind farm, the Kato hydropower project, and the Mabaruma solar farm remain in the works.The Mabaruma solar farm project, according to the Minister, is presently still at the tendering phase for certain components. Patterson was, nevertheless, optimistic that the project would be completed by next month.“The panels are installed… we have a series of panels on posts on the ground. They take over an area of about an acre. The rumour on the ground of it being taken over by bush was a question of the guys not weeding it… that has been taken care of. That’s (not what’s) wrong with them, the solar panels have a lifespan of 25 years.”Cheung Falls in Kato which is yet to come on stream“The issue with the operation of the whole system is the panels, the software, battery and inverters. The issue was the batteries and inverters were incorrectly installed. So those are the new ones that are out to tender and will be installed… the tender was out two months ago… it’s supposed to be finished before (February 23).”In the case of the wind farm, Patterson explained that all the technical aspects are supposed to have been completed. He noted that the project is now a matter for the developer and his financing. Other projects are also in the pipeline.Some are being carried out by the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), while others are being overseen by the Hinterland Electrification Company Incorporated (HECI). Both come under the jurisdiction of the Public Infrastructure Ministry.“The GEA has identified seven potential sites located along the Guyana coast to conduct detailed wind resource assessments, to develop utility-scale grid-connected wind farms. And we’re monitoring them as we speak now. We need a year’s data, and with that data, we will invite persons to bid or develop projects to harness the wind energy,” he said.Image of the proposed site for the Hope wind farm which is incompleteIn the case of several of these projects, 2019 had been cited as the year for them to come on stream. The Mabaruma solar farm, one such project, in the end, was not completed in that stipulated timeframe, while a contract for B&J to construct a hydropower plant on Cheung River in Kato was signed last year.Discussions about building the Hope wind farm, which has International Pharmaceutical Agency’s (IPA) Lloyd Singh as an investor, had resurrected since 2015 when the current Government came into office.In addition, there has been criticism of how much electricity they can actually provide to the grid, compared with the Amaila Falls Hydro Project (AFHP) – a project started by the previous Government but was scrapped by this administration, who had controlled the National Assembly by a one-seat majority.The project could have been generating about 50 per cent more electricity than the entire Guyana Power and Light (GPL) supply.The Government itself has announced that the Mabaruma solar farm when it comes on stream, will be able to provide 400 Kilowatts (KW) of power. Meanwhile, Kato hydropower is expected to provide 150 KW. On the other hand, the Hope wind farm will provide an estimated 16.8 Megawatts (MW).The AFHP, on the other hand, was supposed to have an installed capacity of 165 MW. To give an idea of its potential, a report by Norwegian company Norconsult had found that the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) had a generation capacity of 164.9 Mega Watts, less than Amaila. This an example of a project that, had it been pursued, may have come on stream by now.last_img

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