Govt focus on transitioning to renewable energy, LCDS “timely” – US Ambassador
…says Guyana in a unique position to leapfrog other countries
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s focus on transitioning Guyana’s energy from fossil fuels to renewables, is a timely one considering the global context of global warming and the local need for reliable energy.
This was according to the United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, when she participated in a recent round table discussion on energy that was facilitated by the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA).
Ambassador Lynch reserved praise for the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which the Government plans to go out on country wide consultations for. The LCDS 2030 vision has four components, which are: 1) to manage water and other resources properly; 2) adapting to climate change; 3) producing clean energy, and 4) aligning with global climate and biodiversity goals. According to her, the transition requires careful planning and execution.
“For the most part, each of these initiatives were conceived of and executed as standalone projects. The Government’s efforts to focus its renewable energy plans and package them as part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy are timely and needed because the task at hand truly does require careful planning and execution,” Ambassador Lynch said.
“The Private Sector of course has a voice and a role to play in this strategy and you have an ally in the United States Government, and our private sector. To the many businesses in attendance today, if you are interested in finding US solutions for your renewable energy needs our commercial team is happy to help facilitate those connections.”
According to the diplomat, not only are renewables needed to decarbonise the energy sector to address global warming, but in a place like Guyana the transition is needed to improve the country’s access to reliable electricity, and in turn improve business.
However, an important part of transitioning to renewable energy is upgrading the present Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) used by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), which depends on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).
“While Guyana’s emissions are tiny compared to major emitters, Guyana is in a unique position to leapfrog other economies and invest directly in renewable energy. I’d argue that the relatively small size of Guyana’s emissions and energy demand offers a unique opportunity,” Ambassador Lynch said.
“Guyana currently lacks grid tie-in legislation, which would allow for private businesses to sell excess renewable power to the power grid. What’s more, the grid itself needs to be stable. It requires modernisation with redundancies so that if one power line fails you don’t get rolling blackouts for large portions of the grid.”
The Ambassador said that an updated grid must also be able to handle power fluctuations and adjust for the ebbs and flows of various kinds of power, including renewable energy and unexpected disruptions.
Guyana is seeking, through the new LCDS, a continuous flow of carbon finances. Between 2015 and 2019, Guyana had earned US$250 million from Norway for its low deforestation rates under the original LCDS. Guyana still has 99.5 per cent of its forests intact.
With 18.4 million hectares of largely pristine forests storing 5.31 gigatons of carbon, officials estimate that Guyana could earn upwards of US$300 million by selling its carbon credits on the global market.
A carbon credit is a tradable permit or certificate that allows the holder of the credit the right to emit a stated tonnage of carbon dioxide or an equivalent of another greenhouse gas. Countries and companies that exceed their permitted limits can purchase carbon credits from other nations that have low emissions such as Guyana. Guyana’s 18.4 million hectares of largely pristine forest stores approximately 5.31 gigatons of carbon.
Back in April 2021, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced that Guyana signed a letter of intent with US-based non-profit organisation (NGO), Emergent Finance Accelerated Inc, to market the country’s carbon credits through a credit contract – a deal that could earn the country millions of US dollars. (G3)