Guyana plans to switch to natural gas, a renewable energy source for electricity production


October 28 (Reuters) – Guyana plans to meet unprecedented growth in electricity demand by building a new gas-fired power plant and increasing its hydropower capacity, a key step in moving away from fossil fuels to generate electricity , President Irfaan Ali said this week.

Latin America’s newest oil producer on Thursday launched a low-carbon strategy ahead of the UN’s COP26 climate conference that will move the country to cleaner energy sources as its offshore oil industry s ‘intensifies.

Guyana’s electricity demand is expected to triple over the next five years with a booming economy. The proposed thermoelectric and hydroelectric projects will serve people living along the coast, while solar power will meet the demand of indigenous communities.

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“Cheaper electricity will be provided, and that supply can be multiplied by five with emissions remaining essentially stable,” Ali said when announcing the clean energy initiative.

Guyana’s transmission and distribution lines will also undergo upgrades. Demand on its main power grid, which supplies 78% of the country’s energy needs, is expected to reach 415 megawatts (MW) in 2025 from 126 MW last year, the president said.

Guyana has some of the highest electricity rates in the region, but power outages are common. Many manufacturers have chosen to generate their own electricity.

Most Guyanese live along the coast, where electricity is produced from old diesel power plants, most of which are in need of modernization or replacement. The nation, which is roughly 97% dependent on imported fossil fuels, spent $ 100 million to generate electricity last year.

A cluster of cities that are the gateway to the country’s gold and diamond mines will be powered exclusively by renewable energy by the end of 2027, according to the plan.

In its second phase from 2027 to 2032, the additional demand will be met by wind and solar projects replacing oil-fired power plants. A second hydroelectric project is in preparation.

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Report by Neil Marks Edited by Marianna Parraga and Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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