Guyana’s high energy cost forces Caricom Secretariat to go solar – Deputy SG
With the consumption of just under 1.6 million kilowatts of electricity at the rate of US$0.30 cents per hour, the Caricom Secretariat in Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, was forced to set up a Photovoltaic Generation System to improve its energy network.
The Secretariat launched the new generation system during a ceremony on Monday morning.
Deputy Secretary General, Dr Manorma Soeknandan, in her remarks, explained that the organisation was forced to make this move owing to high electricity costs.
“The Secretariat consumed just under 1.6 million kilowatts hours of electricity at the rate of US$0.30 cents per kilowatt-hour at a time. Our total bill for the year was nearly half a million United States dollars. This does not include the cost of fuel as well as operating and maintenance costs for the diesel generators used to supplement power from the electric grid during periods of disruption,” she told the media on Monday.
She further added, “This situation was deemed unsustainable and was also a catalyst for the determination to improve the design of the energy system within the Secretariat.”
Additionally, as a result of a financial crisis the Secretariat experienced in 2013 and 2014, it came to the consensus to reach out to the Government of Japan for financial assistance.
The Deputy Secretary General pointed out that with financial support from the Japanese Government, they were able to meet all their energy needs.
“Through support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Secretariat was able to access grant aid from Japan through the Government of Guyana to accelerate its energy objectives in particular, and to transform the Headquarters’ building into a showpiece of innovative energy management,” she noted.
“Utilising around 400 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic power, which together with the battery energy storage [and] an advanced building management system, the Secretariat will not only be able to meet most, if not all, of its electricity needs to a clean and secure source, which will also be able to export power to the grid supplementing the existing GPL [Guyana Power and Light] generation to the people of Guyana”.
Meanwhile, Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Karen Cummings, who was at the event, said that the project came just in time as countries are battling with the effects of climate change. She expressed that the event paved the way for the incorporation of renewable energy.
Ambassador of Japan to Guyana and Caricom, Tatsua Hirayama said that Guyana and Japan have shared a relationship over the past years, and this project was in keeping with the countries’ goal of renewable energy. He said: “Both countries are pursuing renewable energy.”
The project costs $3.3 billion, (US$16 million) and it is expected to come on stream in September.