I write in response to the letter by the Honourable Prime Minister (‘The Guyana Energy Agency is being reasonably well run published in SN of September 14, 2013’), which he said was written out of “a need and a duty to set the record straight, [and] dispel any erroneous concerns and doubts” created about the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA). Continue reading As a statutory body the GEA must file annual reports
Readers will recall that Plainly Business noted last week that the country has had no energy policy since 2004. In fact I had quite a surprise when the response I received from a top level political operative about Guyana’s current energy policy was “you all just killed the policy”, in reference no doubt to the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity Project. Had the comment not been made by a very high-ranking official it would have been easy to think it came from someone unfamiliar or unconnected with the energy. At the time, given the authority and responsibility of the individual, I thought the comment was tragically uninformed. On reflection the person was right since, as has now been established, there is no policy.
Before proceeding into the post-1994-2004 era it might be useful to note that in a document Strategic Plan 2012–2016, the Guyana Energy Agency as it is called admitted that while Guyana’s energy policy is to ensure that reliable energy is provided to all in Guyana within an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable framework, many of the Policy’s objectives set out in the 1994-2004 National Energy Policy have not yet been fulfilled.
Continue reading Energy Policy for Guyana – Conclusion
Guyana has no energy policy. And has not had one for the last nine years. The last policy was for the period 1994- 2004 prepared when Dr. Cheddi Jagan was the President. It expired during Bharrat Jagdeo’s presidency. As the drama of the Amaila Falls Hydro-electricity Project was unfolding many observers – critics and friends of the Administration including Professor Suresh Singh and Dr. Janette Bulkan – drew attention to the absence of such a policy. Responsibility for such a major failure has to be placed at the door of Mr. Jagdeo and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, a major element of whose ministerial portfolio is energy.
They have had at their disposal a statutory body called, perhaps inappropriately, the Guyana Energy Agency which has direct responsibility for the energy sector. Presciently, the Energy Policy 1994 -2004 wrote that “the formation of the Energy Agency is absolutely necessary for the successful implementation of the Policy. The projected time-frame for the activities could vary depending on the efficiency with which related activities are carried out.” The Agency was established in 1997, three years into the 1994 Energy Policy. It should have done far more than it has achieved. In fact, on Amaila it appears to have taken a back seat, to have had no view.
Continue reading Energy Policy for Guyana – Part 2
However the Amaila Falls Hydro project turns out, there seems to be an implicit agreement that the country needs an energy policy. Janette Bulkan favours a Green Paper which in Westminster type countries is a document published by the Government as part of the consultation process before any major policy change is undertaken. While the LCDS March 2013 refers to the Amaila project – no doubt because it was already well-advanced – it did not place the project in any policy context. For that and some three years earlier, there was the Guyana Power Sector Policy and Implementation Strategy 2010 done by Verna Klass, which incidentally also anticipated Amaila coming on stream in 2015. But that Strategy included a specific recommendation that the Potaro river basin be developed in stages to meet the increasing requirements of the national grid. That Strategy noted that fuel oil was a better option than wind which it considered “did not seem appropriate for the long term either as it would be displaced by the expected hydro facility”. It also recommended the ongoing use and research into bio-fuels.
And if we go still further back to the National Development Strategy (2001 -2010) we note an entire chapter dedicated to Energy. The NDS looked at alternative energy sources noting that “many ideas for utilising renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, are appealing, but that the costs are high. It added however that in the view of some experts, the cost of both wind energy applications and solar power generation could be considerably reduced.
The NDS made a number of recommendations some of which are as valid today as they were ten years ago. These included enhancing the energy-generating capacity in the interior districts to increase economic activity in all parts of Guyana, attaining an equitable distribution of economic activity, and eradicating poverty in the most depressed areas of the country; the use of locally available energy resources utilising local production e.g. bagasse in sugar and rice mills, and wood waste in sawmills; tax credits to encourage the use of wind and solar energy; and the exploitation of hydropower centred on Amaila in the Potaro River Basin. It should be noted that the NDS saw Amaila not as a stand-alone project but in a modular framework.
Continue reading An energy policy for Guyana