The Transmission and Distribution (T&D) network plays a critical role in power evacuation from power plants and delivery of electricity to customers across Guyana. The electricity service provided to Guyana Power and Light (GPL) customers does not meet the reliability and quality requirements of utilities in developed countries. The low reliability is due to the low capacity of generation, the lack of redundancy in key lines, and the low remote supervision and control of the T&D network.
The utilities have been increasing their generation capacity at the same pace as the demand has been growing, keeping a low reserve and excess capacity that is inadequate to cater for downtime in their generators. The expansion of the firm capacity that is planned in the next decade with new power plants using natural gas and renewable energy will increase the reliability and resilience to generate the electricity demanded at a much lower cost than currently; but besides that, all the public grids will need important improvements in their T&D which have been developed in a radial way and built with single lines, meaning that a failure in any of those single lines will disconnect customers connected downstream of the faulty line.
To increase reliability in the transmission network to world-class utility requirements, the new transmission lines and substations will be designed to comply with ‘N+1 redundancy criteria’ (with at least one backup component). The transmission network will also be expanded to form a real network, avoiding radial configurations where possible. As part of the T&D improvement programme, the existing lines and substations will be progressively upgraded to meet the new redundancy requirements.
GPL’s Development and Expansion Programme estimates the need for an investment of US$600 million over the next five years to upgrade, expand and equip the power system to take off and manage the forecasted electricity demand, and provide services, and operate at the required reliability levels of a modern power utility company.