Guyana is one step further along in its transition towards a green economy with its participation in the Regional Integrated Utility Service (IUS) pilot programme. With technical support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and CARICOM, Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) partnered with the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to join the programme.
The IUS pilot programme shifts the traditional relationship between regional energy utilities and their customers, promoting sustainable energy use by closing the gap between customers seeking access to renewable energy/energy efficient technology and utility companies seeking to encourage more efficient energy use among their customers. Through this programme, utilities offer their customers up-front financing for the technology and installation by qualified energy service providers. Customers repay the cost through their monthly electricity bills for a fixed period and then enjoy the savings generated by their upgraded technology on their electricity bill.
GPL, Guyana’s largest electricity supplier, demonstrated the viability of this model with the installation of two separately-installed solar PV grid-connected systems at the headquarters of the OAS and IICA. They also installed solar PV installations at three of their own Georgetown offices: Middle Street, the Sophia IT building and Main Street. All five installations were commissioned on October 27th, 2021.
With newly-reduced carbon footprints, these facilities fall in line with Guyana’s national climate plan, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which aims to see a 70% reduction in emissions by 2027 as part of Guyana’s contribution to the global effort to combat climate change. They also support CARICOM’s sustainable energy goals as outlined in the CARICOM Energy Policy (CEP) and the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) by creating a more welcoming environment for the renewable energy and energy efficient technology required to meet those goals.
As a result of GPL’s participation in this pilot, Guyana became the first country in the region to take the IUS from a theoretical energy service model to a completed project. Speaking at the commissioning of these projects, Simon Zellner, GIZ TAPSEC Programme Leader, expressed his gratification at seeing “the real-life implementation of something that began as an idea before becoming a regional CARICOM-GIZ study in 2016 and 2017”. He also conveyed his anticipation of future sustainable energy projects emerging out of the foundation created with the pilot project and welcomed additional utilities to join in to extend the progress made in Guyana across the region.