With an expected completion date set for April 2021, five generators have arrived in Guyana for the new Garden of Eden dual firepower plant on the East Bank of Demerara – which is currently under construction by Finnish company, Wartsila.
Government has been working to build the Guyana Power and Light’s capacity to generate power using renewable energy (natural gas), with the ongoing construction of the 46.5-megawatt power plant.
On Friday, the generators arrived at the John Fernandes Wharf and the entire set for the plant is pegged at $10 billion. This is an additional cost to the plant, which has a price tag of US$50 million.
When completed and commissioned, the engines will be capable of using both heavy fuel oil (HFO) and the natural gas being piped in from offshore Guyana.
Upon entering Government, Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar had blasted the former Administration for purchasing the generators at such an early time, since it would not be installed until next April. The Minister explained that the sensible thing for the former Government to have done was to do the civil works first. The expenses to buy generating sets that the former Government forced GPL to incur could, therefore, have waited.
“They went and expended this money at a time when there was a pandemic and during the pandemic, a number of workers are furloughed and they don’t have jobs, businesses are shut down, they need support and the previous Government did not use their wits to help people but went and spent all this money on generating sets.”
“The first loan was negotiated and paid $1.1 billion in April (2020). And then a $4.5 billion on May 22 and there was another tranche of $5 billion on June 22. Mind you, we had an election on March 2,” Indar was quoted as saying.
While acknowledging the importance of reliable electricity, the Minister Within the Public Works Minister posited, “there were other means and methods that the (PPP/C) Government is looking to generate electricity.”
Government is currently purchasing power from the Giftland Mall, in order to satisfy the current demand until the plant is operationalised. According to information received, an average of US$46,000 will be paid per month for power from Giftland. This would translate to some $9.9 million per month. In addition, GPL will be paying for fuel at around $25.6 million per month. In total, this would work out to approximately $35.5 million per month.
The Giftland Mall currently has a system that produces 6.7 megawatts of electricity, 5 megawatts of which is HFO [heavy fuel oil] fuelled. However, it only uses 1.6 megawatts during prime operations.
GPL, which has been plagued with sporadic periods of unreliability, heavily relies on heavy fuel oil. This is despite the advice of industry experts who have long recommended Guyana integrate renewable energy into its power grid.
The Amaila Falls Hydro Project (AFHP), a brainchild of the PPP which would have done just that, was shelved soon after the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government came to office. The lack of investors has been cited.
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 GPL 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.
In addition, talks of bringing natural gas onshore for use to generate power have not gone much further beyond talks. Part of a US$20 million loan that Guyana had signed with the World Bank had gone towards funding a study to examine the merits of bringing natural gas onshore for the local energy market. (G12)