Bartica, Wakenaam, Mahdia, Leguan to get solar farms – VP

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has announced Government’s plans to establish several solar farms in remote sections of Guyana, which will extend the hours of power supply and reduce costs.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

This was noted during his press conference on Friday, where he revealed that a 1.5-megawatt solar farm was already approved for Bartica in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), with similar projects underway for Mahdia in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), Leguan and Wakenaam.
“In the Bartica area, what was approved recently is a project that will start very soon for the 1.5-megawatt solar farm. We’re doing the same through another project, moving to install about half-megawatt of solar in Wakenaam. We’re now exploring plans for a similar-sized capacity for Leguan. There is some funding for Mahdia already to do a solar farm,” Jagdeo told media operatives.
According to him, the units are smaller but would significantly reduce the cost of power supply to these areas. While this form of renewable energy will be available in the daytime, fossil fuel will only be used at night. Thereafter, batteries will be installed to store the solar energy.
“These are smaller units that would help significantly to bring down the cost of the supply. They don’t have batteries so they run during the day. You still have to run the fossil fuel systems in the evening but it would extend the hours of service that people have in these communities, particularly during the day until we put in the units with batteries that can store the solar power.”

Amaila Falls Hydropower Project
The Vice President also shared their progress in getting the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project back on stream, which has started with the review of documents. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has contended that the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project could have been generating about 50 per cent more electricity than the entire Guyana Power and Light supply at the time in 2012. But the project was scrapped by the coalition Administration, which had controlled the National Assembly by a one-seat majority. Now, it is being resuscitated.
“We have started reviewing the documents to chart a pathway to hydropower development back again because hydropower is crucial. Given our capability and our abundant water resources, we believe that hydropower has an important part in our energy mix in the future. Apart from that, it is renewable and environmentally friendly.”
Within the past weeks, contracts were approved to establish a hydropower station at Kumu, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) producing 1.5 megawatts of power. Meanwhile, rehabilitation was done at Moco Moco to offer another 0.7 megawatt.
“That gives you 2.2 megawatts of power and then just last week, it was a 1-megawatt solar farm which will supply power during the day. Considering the peak demand in Lethem is about one megawatt, we’d have almost double the capacity of what they have, all coming in from renewable energy,” the VP acknowledged.
It was noted that Government has already reviewed the current energy system, given the fact that the Guyana Power and Light is struggling to provide reliable electricity.
“We have reviewed the entire energy mix of the country. We’ve started working on each of the large baseload systems. We have a clear vision of what we want in each of these isolated communities and we’ve started implementing projects in this regard.”
Government is currently purchasing power from the Giftland Mall, in order to satisfy the current demand until the 46.5-megawatt plant at Garden of Eden is operationalised. This is pegged at $35 million per month.
To cater to the demand during the Christmas season, plans are underway to purchase another 10 megawatts from MACORP.
The plans to offer reliable electricity has also prompted the PPP/C Government to start working on its gas-to-energy project, which it is looking to implement early next year. Currently, with Guyana generating at nearly 17 to 20 cents per kilowatt/hour, this project is expected to cut the cost of electricity in the country by more than half. (G12)