Jagdeo hints potential investment for another energy project

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

On day three of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo 2024, Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed during a panel discussion that the government is looking at the potential for another project that would supplement the 300 MegaWatts of power coming onstream from the Gas-to-Energy (GtE) project.

He was at the time participating in a panel discussion moderated by Carlos Pascual, the Senior Vice President for Global Energy and International Affairs, S&P Global Commodity Insights. According to the Vice President, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) remains an important component of the energy mix.

“Hydro has always been a very important issue for us. We tried developing the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. It got caught up in politics in the past. It’s a great project. We retendered. Chinese company won the big.”

“We went out on a BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) arrangement. And then they tried to change it to become an EPC (Engineering Procurment Construction) contract, so we had to take it back. Because they won the bid on a different basis. And they tried to change the basis on which they won the bid,” he explained.

However, Jagdeo noted that they are currently in possession of new Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the Amaila Falls project. Added to that, the Vice President hinted at the possibility of another project, besides the AFHP and solar, that could supplement the estimated 300 MW of energy the GtE project will provide.

“We just retendered that. We have some Expressions of Interest that just came in. So that will be part of our energy mix. The gas project, possibly another project to supplement the 300 megawatts, the hydropower and solar. We believe that all of them would allow us to reduce our emissions significantly and still meet the needs of the country. The industrial needs as well as the consumer needs,” the VP said.

The importance of Guyana growing its capacity for cheap, reliable energy, has never been more apparent than now. As it is now, the demand for electricity has been steadily rising. This year alone, the electricity demand is projected to peak at 236 megawatts; however, GPL can generate approximately 180 megawatts of power.

In 2020, the power demand was around 120 megawatts and this grew to 136 megawatts in 2021; 156 megawatts in 2022; and then peaked at 184 megawatts in 2023. Last year’s peak was recorded when all industrial customers were on the grid.

With electricity costs slated to be significantly reduced in the coming years, there will be a significant surge in the demand for power in the near future, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo had previously outlined.

The cost for energy has long been cited as not only a major bugbear for residential customers, but a hindrance to the commercial customers and the manufacturing sector. Only recently, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) held a press conference where they noted the massive industrialization and growth of the manufacturing sector, that cheaper power would usher in.

The GtE project will see the construction of 225 kilometres of pipeline from the Liza field in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, where Exxon and its partners are currently producing oil. It features approximately 200 kilometres of a subsea pipeline offshore that will run from Liza Destiny and Liza Unity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels in the Stabroek Block to the shore.Upon landing on the West Coast Demerara shore, the pipeline would continue for approximately 25 kilometres to the NGL Plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara. In last year’s national budget, the project received a $43.3 billion allocation, in addition to the $24.6 billion injected into the start-up of the transformational project, for construction of the NGL Plant and the 300-megawatt (MW) Combined Cycle Power Plant at Wales, WBD.

This year, a whopping $80 billion was budgeted to advance this project and its associated infrastructure, including transmission and distribution upgrades to offtake the power. As of January, this year, the marine offloading facility has been completed, and 26 kilometres (km) of onshore pipelines have been installed. Once completed, the project will allow Guyanese to benefit from 50 per cent reduced electricity costs.Meanwhile, the 165-megawatt AFHP was the flagship initiative of the Bharrat Jagdeo-crafted Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). According to the reissued RFP, the project, under the BOOT model, will integrate and expand Guyana Power and Light’s national grid capacity to include Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice).

So far, the names of four companies have been in the public domain for having submitted proposals. They are Rialma S.A. (Grupo Rialma) from Brazil, Lindsayca CH4 Guyana Inc, China International Water & Elec. Corp, and a group made up of OEC, GE Vernova and Australia’s Worley.