66 per cent of hinterland accessing reliable electricity – PM Phillips

Approximately 66 per cent of hinterland communities in Guyana have access to reliable energy in keeping with the government’s goal of enhancing energy access.

Prime Minister and Acting President, Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips made the statement during day three of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo being held under the theme “Fuelling Transformation and Modernisation” at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips

“From 2022 to date, the proportion of the hinterland population with reliable access to electricity has moved from 50 per cent to 66 per cent. For 2024, continued works will seek to ensure that that proportion advances closer to 90 per cent, to achieve coverage for the entire hinterland population by the year 2025,” he told those gathered on Wednesday.

According to the prime minister, this is due to the landmark Solar Home Systems project, which empowers indigenous communities across the country with reliable access to solar-powered electricity.

Under this initiative, the government acquired 30,000 solar home system units to distribute to each household in hinterland, rural, and riverine communities, to bridge the energy divide.

Each unit comprises a 165-watt solar panel, a 12-volt battery, two LED lights, and a 112-volt fan, among other basic fittings.  The project also complements the government’s drive to minimise the country’s carbon footprint.

Based on the success of this project and its monumental impact on the lives of Guyana’s indigenous people, the PM said the government is mulling the purchase of an additional 10,000 units to further expand the renewable energy thrust.

“I’ve already asked His Excellency for us to purchase another 10,000 solar household units. These are additional investments aimed to advance access to renewable energy in the hinterland and riverine communities of Guyana,” PM Phillips told the conference.

The initiative is only one element of a wider energy matrix that aims to decouple Guyana’s economic growth from its reliance on fossil fuels while putting in place the enabling infrastructure to meet the growing energy demand.

A section of the participants.

This energy mix sees the incorporation of hydropower, natural gas, and solar power sources, adding to the national grid while ensuring that renewable resources are paramount in the nation’s energy landscape.

Several other transformational projects include the 300-megawatt gas plant, national grid upgrades, the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, and the installation of solar and wind systems.

A targeted approach has also been adopted to eliminate the electricity and energy gap between coastal and hinterland regions, with the construction of solar-powered mini-grids in these communities.

Through the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030, the government is demonstrating this drive to develop the energy sector and diversifying the economy to promote sustainable growth.

“This year budget, a sum of $95.7 billion has been allocated for the energy sector to support energy initiatives, including the installation of additional baseload capacity at Columbia substation, advancing the construction of the flagship 300-megawatt gas to energy project and its associated infrastructure, advancing the 165-megawatt Amaila falls hydropower project, and the completion of the Kumu, Moco Moco and Kato mini-hydropower facilities,” the senior government official noted.

PM Phillips added that this allocation will support upgrades to the primary distribution network, as well as the completion and startup of several solar farms.

“Guyana continues to engage and work in partnership with multiple energy and cross sector stakeholders to roll out clean and renewable energy initiatives, adapt to the challenges posed by climate change, and encourage sustainable, energy efficient lifestyles among Guyanese while building capacity to facilitate the requisite technical and regulatory support for effective clean energy transition,” the prime minister affirmed.

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