Do Guyanese politicians feel in the dark about electricity solutions? – Kaieteur News

Do Guyanese politicians feel in the dark about electricity solutions?

Offshore Gas and Renewable Energy Projects…

Kaieteur News – Having more questions than answers is never ideal, but it can be especially devastating when these questions are about issues that play a central role in the wellbeing of an entire nation. The sad reality is that, in terms of the sustainable and reliable roadmap to energy, there are very few answers to important questions. As for Guyana’s energy woes, the only consensus is that it hampers it as the country’s economic and developmental ambitions. . Unfortunately, governments come and go without at least proposing a robust plan to remove the barrier.
What has been given to the nation is a bunch of ideas and projections, some of which contradict the others.

Former President, David A. Granger

This begs the question, do politicians feel their way in the dark?
The APNU + AFC government was extremely optimistic in trying to end blackouts and move towards renewable energy. The coalition made a commitment under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to become 100% dependent on renewable energy by 2025. This was its commitment even as that government looked seriously at a gas-to-power project. At the end of his five-year term, APNU + AFC had made little progress; however, even if the coalition had retained power, there was no way the 2025 target could have been achieved.
Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, while in opposition, to highlight the coalition’s shortcomings. He criticized the commitment, calling it impractical and proof that the APNU + AFC was stuck in “la-la land”. A few years later, not much has changed as there is still no definitive guiding light for the way forward even as the Jagdeo government is pushing a new mix that will see renewable forms of energy play a big role and there are already movements on foot to revisit the previous sick Amaila Falls project. At the same time, the PPP / C is proposing to spend an obscene amount of money on the onshore gas project.

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo

Prime Minister Mark Phillips said the PPP / C will pursue a program with an energy mix “that includes hydropower, natural gas, solar, and wind, which will result in more than 400 megawatts of newly installed capacity. for residential and commercial consumers over the next five years, and at least a 50 per cent reduction in the cost of energy. ”
When the First Minister made these comments, it was clear that upgrading the energy sector was significantly high on his government’s agenda. This would have been far more convincing had the agenda been driven by a clear plan.
The goal, as expressed by Jagdeo, is to move toward 100 percent reliability on renewable energy in line with Guyana’s obligations to combat Climate Change. However, there has been no information on shared electricity sources. As the goal is to move to renewable energy, will this new mix take into account that at least 50 percent of Guyana’s energy is sourced from renewable sources (wind, solar and hydro)? If so, is Guyana really going to spend nearly US $ 1B just to meet 50 percent of its energy needs? If not, then gas can account for much more, meaning the move to renewables may not be as significant as some might hope.

First Minister, Mark Phillips

The developed world committed to moving away significantly from non-renewable forms of energy by 2030. Will Guyana be left behind? Indeed, Guyana is not yet considered developed, but none other than President Irfaan Ali predicted that a magnificent and transformational change is on the horizon. So, by the year 2030, Guyana should be near ready to throw its third world badge in the junk.
If that stylish transformation is realized and we’re in the game of jumping aboard the renewable wagon by 2030, what will Guyana do with our very expensive and potentially new project in 2030? The reality is that unless Guyana rushes into this project blindly, there is no way it can be completed in time to get our money’s worth before it comes time for change. Here are some of the very basic measures needed if the gas project is to shore up public confidence:
· Technical feasibility study
· Economic feasibility study
· Environmental Impact Assessment
· Adequate legislation and policies including gas pricing policy and regulations to govern the installation of pipelines
· Discussions with citizens who may be affected or have to move
· Decide carefully on the source of funding
· Guyanese training, unless we intend to rely solely on the foreigners, and
· Guyana still has to find out what role GPL will play in all of this; again, relevant upgrade legislation will be required.
The list goes on, and all of these things take time. The government will have to achieve these goals in running a country and catering to citizens whose concerns are not limited to energy. And all while dealing with a pandemic.
The Attorney General (AG) already has a legislative agenda that does not contain many of the pieces of legislation that will be needed. The feasibility studies have not started and we still do not know if Wales is technically the best area. There is at least 120 miles of pipeline to be laid over a deep ocean floor with peaks and valleys. This, in itself, will require extensive seismic and geological studies to determine that it is safe to lay the pipeline in that area. An assessment must also be carried out to determine whether installation of the pipeline will affect or hinder the exploration plans of other companies in the basin. Then the infrastructure is on land. All in all, the project is very unlikely to be completed before 2025.
The proposed energy mix would be more advantageous for a country looking to transition, but already has the infrastructure in place for gas to power. For example, Trinidad is looking to wean its people off natural gas and will use its gas as a transfer tool. While others are looking to get out, Guyana is looking to invest, spend money to maintain it; just had to do away with it in a couple decades? Decommissioning also comes with a heavy cost when we no longer have materials for the pipelines.
When the evidence is examined, Guyana is not at the stage where Vice President Jagdeo should be pronouncing that the onshore gas project will start in two years. The nation is at a time when we have to decide where we want to be in another 10 years and how we intend to get there.
If Guyana’s commitment to making significant contributions to environmental protection is to be taken seriously, even when married to the search for reliable energy, then an energy transition road map is needed. There must be real studies to determine the economic and technical feasibility of the projects we want to embark on. Here are the basics.