Govt pursuing national framework for energy policy – Patterson

In its quest to realise a green Guyana, Government is moving to establish a national framework for energy policy, to encourage the use of sustainable and renewable energy.

Addressing the opening of the first energy forum hosted by the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), at Palm Court in Georgetown recently, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson reported on Guyana’s rich endowment of energy power, including that from hydro, solar, wind and bio-energy; and the recently discovered oil and gas resources. However, he said that despite the country’s considerable potential, it is still heavily dependent

Public Infrastructure Minister
David Patterson

on fossil fuel for its energy needs.

Government is thus seeking to ensure that an appropriate framework is in place, and Patterson expressed that the development of energy resources can support a diversified pattern of energy supplies.

“In order to support the transition of the use of fossil fuel towards the use of indigenous and renewable energy resources, Government is working to ensure that an appropriate framework is in place,” Patterson told the small gathering of stakeholders.

He reported that Government had last year begun the review and update of Guyana’s National Energy Policy, which he said seeks to move Guyana from an economy that is inefficient in energy use and wholly dependent on imported market-sensitive fossil fuels to one largely based on economically efficient indigenous energy resources.

The first phase of the study included a draft energy document, Patterson noted. He said the document was completed in December last year, and the second phase — which seeks to involve stakeholders’ consultations towards the finalisation of the National Energy Policy — will soon commence.

He said that within the next month, Government will officially begin consultation with relevant bodies to collectively craft the policy.

Additionally, Patterson reported the completion of a National roadmap for Guyana, which identifies tasks together with specific projects and responsible parties.According to the Minister, natural gas from Guyana’s offshore exploration suggest a transitional energy source. He said funding for the roadmap will be based on the monetization of the recently discovered offshore oil and gas resources, public/private partnership, international donors, and national government resources.

“Guyana Energy Plan seeks to harness resources such as hydropower, solar, wind and biomass; and encompasses various scales of projects, including micro-hydro plans for the hinterland electrification, medium-size renewable projects for the National Grid, and larger projects for the export of electricity,” he explained.

According to Patterson, energy efficiency is now considered the “low hanging fruit” to climate action. He said technological and behavioural changes can lead to improved efficiency, less wastage, and significant reduction in energy consumption. A small shift in demand, based on increased energy efficiency, can result in the saving of millions of dollars in the country’s oil import bill, he explained.

He said there have been fiscal incentives to motivate energy efficient behaviours by promoting the use of more efficient vehicles, compact fluorescent and LED lamps.

“By improving energy efficiency, local businesses will be able to enhance their productivity due to lower cost structure and improved cash flows, and savings can be used to maintain the viability of these measures and subsequently reinvest further in social economic projects and development, he explained.

According to Patterson, Government is also acting on the charge given by President David Granger — that the Public Sector should lead the way in transitioning into a greater renewable energy use. As a consequence, Government will this year be introducing an energy programme which will see at least 64 Government buildings each being outfitted with 1.3MW solar systems.

A 400 KW solar farm will be created in Mabaruma, Region One (Barima Waini), and similar farms will be created in Lethem, Mahdia and Bartica.He related that the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc is also seeking to establish a National Grid Code for the integration of disruptive generation, which will provide a commercial and technical framework to accept electricity from renewable energy resources into its distributing network and streamline feeding mechanisms.

“The Government’s commitment towards a greening economy, in recognition of our national determining contributions to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as well as (the) Sustainable Development Goals, remains at the forefront of national priority. Government has made a budgetary allocation of 1 billion to implement a series of renewable energy projects and efficiency programmes in 2017,” he explained.

He said there is need to optimize all energy resources, even as the country strives to transition to renewable energy resources.

Expanding more on Governments blueprint, Patterson said the Energy Development Plan seeks to harness resources such as hydro power, solar, wind, and biomass, and encompasses various scales of projects, such as micro-hydro plan for hinterland electrification, medium size renewable projects for the National Grid, and larger scale projects for the export of electricity.