Caricom Secretary General Dr CarlaBarnett making remarks at the handingoverceremony of the Solar PhotovoltaicPower Generation Systems at theCaricom Secretariat.

The Caricom Secretariat in Guyana is implementing a solar photovoltaic power generation plant in its energy generation. The plant will be equipped with battery and power conditioning systems. Speaking at the handover ceremony on Tuessday, Caricom Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett said the project is a signal that the Secretariat practises what it preaches.

The project was delayed by the novel coronavirus pandemic when, as part of the public health measures to safeguard the lives and health of the personnel involved, implementation of the activity was suspended on April 30, 2020.

Dr Barnett said, “It is because of the dedicated and reliable commitment of every single partner to the ideals that are represented by the project, that the work resumed in June 2021 and safely concluded in December 2021.”

This PV power generation system is expected to generate more electricity than is required by the Secretariat for its operation on an annual basis and the expectation is that the available excess energy would “feed-in” to the utility grid during its off-peak operation periods. The Secretariat is seeking to conclude the legal arrangements, which will attend the bi-directional flow of electricity with Guyana Power and Light, (GPL) within this quarter.

The 400-kilowaatt solar generation project, with 1,500 solar panels, servers and batteries, is an investment of more than US$7 million by the Government of Japan. It is already transforming the way in which the Secretariat is sourcing and using energy at the headquarters building, which itself was built with considerable assistance from the Government of Japan.

“The ambition which this project represents is anchored within a regional strategy, which commits all our member states to pursue opportunities for integrating renewable energy resources with energy efficiency measures to meet energy needs in support of economic, social architecture and environmental sustainability,” said Dr Barnett.

The design principles, which underlie the project, take the natural hazards of the project site, such as flooding into consideration and reflect the approach promoted within integrated resource and resilience planning, through which Caricom member states, including Guyana, are already developing integrated resource and resilience plans. These plans promote the “shifting” of their electricity systems away from the traditional, legacy designs to modern, smart and resilient alternatives that are capable of more effectively supporting their national targets on sustainable energy and climate, in particular and their sustainable development and investment goals in general.

She noted that, “Partnerships have been critical in implementing this project successfully. At the highest level, partnership among the leadership of the Government of Japan, the Government of Guyana and the Caricom Secretariat provided the basis for creating the arrangements for developing and financing this project.”

“Growth is fragile and vulnerable for Caricom countries. We are exposed to hazardous features over which we have little control or influence. The current pandemic serves as a manifestation of this. The exposure of our countries to a variety of global shocks is greatly heightened by the challenge of adapting to extreme weather events, which interrupt economic development and force us to adjust public and private sector investment to the severe losses and damage caused by these events,” Dr Barnett continued.

Members of the audience at the handing-over ceremony of the Solar PhotovoltaicPower Generation Systems at the Caricom Secretariat.
BY ANDREW LAIDLEY Senior business reporter

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