Georgetown, Guyana, 8 November 2021 (IICA). – With a view to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels to generate electricity, minimizing its carbon footprint and guaranteeing access to energy, the government of Guyana launched a solar power generation project.
Implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Public Works and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) company, the initiative involves the installation of a network of solar panels at the facilities shared by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Organization of American States (OAS).
“The implementation of this service is a step in the right direction for our country, as we advance towards a low-carbon future. Renewable and clean energy plays a pivotal role in fostering economic growth, energy security, job creation, and poverty alleviation in a cost-effective manner while contributing to climate change mitigation” stated Mark Phillips, Prime Minister of Guyana.
“The government of Guyana remains committed to providing affordable, stable and reliable energy to benefit everyone while reducing the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels to generate electricity. We must invest in long-term solutions to better utilize renewable energy to combat global warming”, he added.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, “climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our society, and our government has been leading local efforts to reduce emissions through a low-carbon development strategy that strikes a balance between national development and global climate action”.
“The food production chain requires the application of renewable energy, technologies for improved processing and value-added activities for farmers, which translates into a strong national industry. Rural areas can take advantage of this renewable energy to develop the agriculture sector and add value to our agricultural production”, noted Mustapha.
The project, which receives financial and technical support from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ), also serves as a pilot plan for expanding the use of renewable energy in the Caribbean region and Latin America.
The initiative is an important milestone for the country and represents the commitment of Caribbean countries to contribute to the fight against climate change, to which their region is particularly vulnerable.
“At present, 25% of our energy is generated from renewable sources. We must increase that percentage to 90% by 2050; that is an urgent task. If we fail to address the issue of global warming, sea levels will rise by 0.6 meters by the end of the century, which spells disaster for small, coastal states like ours”, warned Deodat Indar, Guyana’s Minister of Public Works.
“We are very pleased to contribute to Guyana’s energy matrix and agree that renewable energy is a priority. We want the energy generated through this initiative to encourage young entrepreneurs to participate in agriculture, a sector dominated by an aging population. We must undertake greater efforts to attract youth”, remarked Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA.
“The main objective is to provide technical assistance to regional utility companies in Jamaica, Belize, Barbados and Guyana to develop the Integrated Utility Service (IUS) model, thereby demonstrating its viability”, stated Ryan Ross, Director of GPL’s Project Division.
“Increasing well-being will boost Guyana’s food security, resilience and participation in the global market”, he added.
According to the Assistant Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), “The expectation is that projects implemented under this program will enable electricity consumers in Guyana to access more affordable funding and reduce electricity bills. These projects should provide more opportunities for local businesses, including investors, technology providers and service providers with an interest in clean energy”.
The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS explained that “This project exemplifies the success that can be achieved when agencies avoid the duplication of efforts, time and other resources and collaborate for the greater good. Through this project, we have witnessed firsthand the power of networking and multilateral cooperation in action”.
“GPL’s implementation of the pilot project in partnership with the OAS and IICA contributes to a future in which the people of Guyana can more easily access affordable energy and energy-efficient technologies. This access will have a significant positive impact on their lives”, stated Simon Zellner, GIZ TAPSEC Program Leader.