Guyana has some of the highest electricity rates in the Americs and is about 97% dependent on imported fossil fuels.
Using natural gas as a bridge away from heavy fuel oil, followed by the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and an expansion of solar, wind and biomass, Guyana will see a massive expansion of renewable energy across the country. By 2030, energy use can increase five-fold with greenhouse gas emissions staying approximately flat – one of the world’s highest levels of decoupling of economic growth and fossil fuel use for energy.
Without this transition away from today’s energy sources, both greenhouse gas emissions and consumer costs will stay very high because of a reliance on imported Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and diesel for electricity generation in the 12 public grids operated by Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and Hinterland Electrification Company Inc (HECI). Expenditure on these fuels was approximately US$ 150 million in 2021.
The Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) is the largest of the public grids and accounts for 78% of the total cost. The DBIS peak power was 135.7 Megawatts (MW) in 2021 and it is estimated that the peak load by 2025 will be 407MW. The DBIS has currently 205MW of firm capacity. However, some of that capacity is from aged generators with low reliability.
It has been estimated that a new 300MW of firm capacity will be needed to cover the demand increase, the retirement of aged generators and to improve the grid’s reliability. In the original LCDS, it was foreseen that the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project would have been completed before 2020, delivering cheaper, cleaner electricity. However, its development was not progressed by the 2015-2020 Government. The Government now intends to return to a strategy of decoupling economic growth from using fossil fuels for electricity by developing low-carbon energy resources (Solar, Hydro, Wind, Biomass, and Natural Gas) to meet rapidly rising demand and keep greenhouse gas emissions low.
This is being done through a combination of:
- (i) investment in transformational energy infrastructure across the generation and transmission systems;
- (ii) fiscal incentives and government policies to support the use of renewable energy at the level of households and businesses;
- (iii) investments to improve energy efficiency