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Guyana gets US$1.7m to mainstream low-emission energy technologies

As Guyana forges ahead with its plan for a ‘green’ state, the Government, through the Office of Climate Change (OCC), has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement a project titled the “Mainstreaming Low Emissions Technologies to build Guyana’s Green Economy,” through US$1.7 million in financing from the GEF.

The grant was facilitated by the OCC, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, through the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL). The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) and the Hinterland Electrification Company are the main implementation partners.

At the opening of the Project Inception Workshop, held on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotel, Head of the OCC, Janelle Christian said the Low Emissions Project aims to accelerate the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels and support Guyana on its path towards more decentralised, inclusive and resilient development.

The Project is designed to address the barriers in Guyana’s energy sector in order to develop a reliable and efficient low emission energy systems that are required for building a green state.

Ms. Christian noted that in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement in 2015, Guyana committed to eliminating its dependence on fossil fuels for power generation by developing an energy mix consisting of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower to supply both the demand of the national grids and the energy requirements for towns and villages in the country’s hinterland.

However, for this vision to be realised, there are several enabling conditions which must be put in place including the right legislative, policy and institutional framework complemented by technological and human capacity support. Through collaboration with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and its sub-agencies, the OCC and the UNDP, Guyana was successful in its proposal to the GEF.

Under the recently-crafted development agenda, “Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040”, Guyana has further articulated its renewable energy ambitions, in accordance with its international commitments.

“Having made this commitment, it was necessary to identify a roadmap to get there. We knew that there were some barriers that had to be addressed, since a shift had to be made from pilot type initiatives to investment projects of scale. The OCC partnered with the UNDP to access the GEF funds under the allocation for climate change, which is in keeping with [the] Office’s made to unlock support, whether through the mobilisation of finance, technology transfer or capacity building, in the furtherance of our national climate change ambitions,” Ms. Christian was quoted as saying in a Ministry of the Presidency news release. The Inception Workshop is expected to trigger the actual implementation of actions on the ground by the relevant agencies.

The project will look at three areas of support: policy framework and institutional capacities,  sustainable business and financing models for low-carbon energy technologies, and deployment of low-emission energy technologies. These areas entail working with key institutions such as the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board to advance ‘green’ procurement policy directive, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards to establish Minimum Energy Performance Standards, and the Ministry of Education (Council for Technical Vocational and Education Training, Board of Industrial Training) and the technical institutes for training and certification in PV installation, repairs and maintenance as areas of priority.

Meanwhile, Mr. Navindra Persaud, Representative of the UNDP Guyana, in his remarks, noted that the UNDP said he remains committed to working with member states to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 agenda.

“In our strategic plan, we have particularly prioritised the reduction of poverty in all its forms and build countries to address developmental and interconnected challenges. One of these outputs speaks to the transition to more sustainable solutions for increased energy efficiency and access from renewable sources. This helps us to tackle climate change while promoting cheaper and more stable energy options,” Persaud was quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.

He noted that through the project, it is expected that 7000 megawatt hour of electricity will be produced annually from renewable energy sources; 10,000 individuals will benefit from installed solar photovoltaic systems; US$850,000 will be saved by the country, annually, on public expenditure and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 271,000 CO2e over 10 years.