Budget 2022: 30,000 solar PV home energy systems for hinterland communities in 2022 – PM

…says 4th mobile service provider to soon commence operations in Guyana

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips has outlined several transformative projects that the Government will undertake in 2022 to significantly improve the local energy sector.
During his budget presentation on Friday evening, Phillips related that the distribution of 30,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) home energy systems would commence in hinterland and riverine communities this year and when completed, would provide 4.5 megawatts of power across all 10 administrative regions.
Several small but transformative renewable energy projects are also expected to be completed. Among these are the installation of a 1.5-megawatt solar farm in Bartica and a one-megawatt solar farm in Lethem. Both projects are expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2022.
“These initiatives that capitalise on the power of renewable energy will certainly lead us along a path of sustainability while allowing us to reach remote areas to serve the needs of people who have, for too long, remained unserved because of their geographical location,” the PM stated.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

Additionally, the Prime Minister said that $31.6 million has been budgeted as a catalyst for e-mobility. This allocation will see the installation of six level-three fast-charging facilities for electric vehicles. The facilities, which will be located at S & R Parking Lot, Guyana Energy Agency, MovieTowne, Giftland Mall, Massy at Providence and Little Rock Suites in New Amsterdam, are expected to achieve 80 per cent charging capacity within 40 minutes.
The Prime Minister added that the Government has catered for the addition of 2.8 megawatts of power to the capacity of Guyana Power and Light (GPL) this year. This comes as a result of growing demand.
“Despite the challenges faced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Guyana Power and Light customer base increased by five per cent in 2021,” he noted.
He added that GPL expected “10 per cent growth in the customer base, with an estimated 235,576 customers by December 31, 2022”.
According to the senior Government official, there are also planned infrastructural upgrades being undertaken at GPL in 2022 that will see the company reducing the loss of generation capacity and improving its ability to transmit power to cater to demand.
Among these plans is the reinforcing of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) through the upgrade of several integral transmission and distribution locations.
In addition to these provisions, the Wales gas-to-energy project and the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project will also commence this year under the Prime Minister’s supervision.
“Both projects will transform the cost structure of GPL and will bring stability to the current fluctuations in generation cost due to the volatility of fuel prices,” Phillips said.

With regard to the telecommunications sector, the Prime Minister said that the Government was committed to creating an environment that fostered competition.
He assured the National Assembly that in addition to liberalising the telecommunications sector within 64 days of taking office, the Administration has also moved to implement number portability – a mechanism that would allow persons to keep their mobile numbers when changing service providers.
A working group among the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and local service providers is in place and pursuing a December 2022 completion date for the new mechanism.
“Another competition-facilitating measure is the issuance of a licence for the operation of a third submarine fibreoptic cable connecting Guyana to the global Internet via the Atlantic Ocean. This development means that all three of our major service providers will have their own transatlantic submarine fibreoptic cables,” PM Phillips revealed.
Additionally, he said that a fourth mobile service operator was licensed and was expected to commence operations within 2022.
The National Data Management Authority (NDMA) has also boosted its operations by increasing its bandwidth capacity by 167 per cent.
“This allowed for the increase in Wi-Fi bandwidth from 50 to 200Mbps at 139 public Internet access sites. Overall, public Wi-Fi consumption increased from 242Mbps in January to 500Mbps by October 2021,” Phillips noted.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister expressed disappointment in the parliamentary Opposition for sticking to a political agenda and not acknowledging the many benefits that Budget 2022 offered ordinary Guyanese.
“How can you come and lecture us about a budget that does not provide for the people of Guyana – a budget that provides $600,000 starting this year for everybody who has to do dialysis? … I served in the military, I interact with veterans, and this is one of the issues that was raised by the leadership of the veteran foundation: about many shut-ins that have kidney issues and are challenged to pay for their treatment… this is the Government that has provided for that this year,” he declared.
Prime Minister Phillips recommended the budget to the House as one that is transformative and people-centred.