New Eccles substation to widen transmission for power generated by gas-to-shore, Amaila projects

…“state-of-the-art’ national control centre to be built

A new substation is in the pipeline for Eccles, on the East Bank of Demerara, in order to augment the reach of power generated through the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and the gas-to-shore project.
The 300-megawatt gas-to-shore plant is expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2024. Additionally, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project will be set to generate 165 megawatts of power in 2027.
Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Bharat Dindyal, spoke on Thursday at AMCHAM’s Energy Roundtable Discussion, where it was announced that the power will be transmitted as far as the Corentyne with the introduction of this facility.

The Wales Development Zone

“The power from the 300-megawatt [gas-to-shore project] is going to be transmitted from Wales to a new substation at Eccles via two 230-kilovolts transmission lines. From Eccles, there is going to be an interconnection for an existing substation at Sophia, but we hope that the 230kv transmission would be extended from Eccles to Williamsburg on the Corentyne…The hydropower connection would be from Amaila Falls to the Eccles site,” the CEO outlined.
GPL is currently working on a smart-grid proposal for the automation of the entire system. It would feature automation of transmission, distribution, generation, metering – all spearheaded through a national control centre at Eccles.
Dindyal has informed, “That is going to be a state-of-the-art system, and by the time this is completed, we expect to have all of our isolated systems on the Essequibo Coast, Leguan, Wakenaam, Bartica, and even Linden integrated into the national grid.

An artist’s impression of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project

“The quality of power is going to dramatically improve. We’re going to be investing in power quality, voltage regulation, and monitoring of the entire system. We’re going to have the ability to simulate the system in different configurations to determine what is the best configuration to ensure security and stability,” he added.
Dindyal has pegged a realistic timeline of eight years to completely rely on this system. He recognises that the demand for electricity will skyrocket. While the peak demand for electricity in the DBIS is below 140 megawatts, this is expected to climb to 501 megawatts by 2027 – a timeline by which all the current systems would be consolidated to the national grid.
He noted that Guyana inherited a ‘basic’ system following its independence. With demands growing, he outlined, there is need for an enormous investment to fix generation, transmission, distribution and automation.
“The buildout of the system to meet modern electricity standards requires quite significant investment… Currently, it stands at over US$3 billion. That requires inputs to the extent of $1.5 billion in generation, and the two projects would be the foundation of the system in the foreseeable future.”
This is the first of a series of roundtable discussions hosted by AMCHAM Guyana. Guyana is one of the world’s newest oil-producing nations, but has one of the highest costs of energy within the Caribbean. Heavily reliant on fossil fuels and heavy fuel oils for power generation, it has been recognised that this can pose serious setbacks to the business community and the manufacturing sector.
Given the urgency at which the country should find new sources of energy, and coupled with Government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, talks on renewable energy are geared at advancing clean and reliable power at the earliest possible time.
During the discussion, AMCHAM President Devindra Kissoon said robust efforts to hop onto a renewable energy transition must be supported. Government initiatives such as solar farms and hydropower projects are all important starts. However, he outlined that the Private Sector also has a part to play in these efforts. He emphasised the need to generate a mindset of sustainable renewable practices in energy.
“We in the Private Sector have a responsibility to oversee, implement, and share to ensure that we have a sustainable future,” Kissoon has said.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, reminded that this transition would not happen overnight, as modernisation is required to allow for reliability.
Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar, brought into focus the Government’s revised Low Carbon Development Strategy, which aligns with this transition. He also concluded that it is not an easy task, but would be a requirement to support the growing oil sector. (G12)