Only 10% of Mazaruni hydropower for Guyana; no alternative energy plan for Essequibo yet – Patterson

Last Updated on Monday, 29 February 2016, 16:33 by Denis Chabrol

Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson has revealed that Guyana will only be receiving 5%-10% of power generated from the proposed Mazaruni hydro-power plants if the project is completed.

Guyana had partnered with Brazil to conduct a feasibility study of the Upper and Middle Mazaruni to determine the potential of hydro-power development in the area. The focus was to develop a hydro-power station in the Upper Mazaruni with a capacity of about 3,000 megawatts and another in the Middle Mazaruni with a capacity of 1,500 megawatts.

According to Patterson, Guyana and Brazil are still in talks about the projects but 85% of the energy generated would be supplied to Brazil, five percent guaranteed to Guyana in addition to Guyana having “the first call” on the remaining 10%.

The project should have started already, but it was noted that some economic difficulties have befallen the country hence the sloth.

Meanwhile, the Minister revealed that government has not yet decided on which route to go for renewable energy for the Essequibo Coast whose overall fossil fuel bill, including transportation cost is high. That coastal region, he further noted, is being served by aged generating sets.

The issue of Essequibo receiving alternative energy has been up for discussion in the past since it was revealed that the ditched Amaila Falls Hydropower Project would not provide electricity for the Essequibo Coast.

Patterson during a Natural Resources Committee meeting on Monday revealed that Government has commenced studies into the possibility of solar energy for the region. However, the draft results of that study would not be available until April. “We are doing the research…it is hard to say whether there is a silver bullet for Essequibo,” said Patterson.

Later referring to the possibility of solar energy, Patterson stated “even if we are going to go solar we would need some more information.”

He made it clear that there are no renewable energy opportunities for hydro-power in Regions, 1, 3, and 5 but Government is hopeful that Essequibo would be served by alternative energy sources in the next five years.