Hydropower: Pushing Forward the Energy Efficiency Agenda

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Hydropower has the potential to boost power supply for increased economic growth, jobs, and improved human well-being. The Amaila Falls Hydro Power (AFHP) generation capacity will boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of Guyana; reduce electricity costs, promote renewable power, spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation.

This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes and businesses. By connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyze growth and to encourage development for the various economic sectors of our local economy.

Lack of access to cheap electricity is a defining constraint for the economic growth and development of Guyana. All will benefit from job created by construction and installation activity associated with the power plant.  By choosing a run-of-the-river option to reduce social and environmental impacts, the Government of Guyana has demonstrated careful and responsible decision-making.

The project’s regional approach to infrastructure development will help to lower costs, enable joint management of the hydropower generation and transmission system, and demonstrate mutual benefits attainable for greater economic integration.

This Hydroelectric Project provides a fresh opportunity to unlock energy potential in Guyana, while safeguarding the environment. Energy efficiency initiatives present an opportunity to increase energy supplies, improve energy security, reduce CO2 emissions, and forestall a looming energy crisis.

The world depends on energy – for lighting hospitals, heating schools, and for providing gas, heat, and electricity for households around the globe. Yet nearly twenty percent of the world’s population lives without access to electricity and nearly forty percent depends on wood and other biomass for household fuel.

Energy is fundamental to sustained economic growth and crucial for reducing poverty and increasing shared prosperity. Business development, job creation, and income generation all require an adequate supply of energy that is both affordable and reliable. In many parts of the developing world, however, achieving a reliable power supply remains a constant struggle.

Recent global initiatives, including Sustainable Energy for All, have outlined the importance of energy in the global fight against poverty and provide guidance on how policy makers around the world can solve the energy riddle.

The Sustainable Energy for All initiative stands out as a strong example of what type of action is necessary to address energy concerns in the region. While two components of this initiative – increasing access to modern energy services and transitioning toward more renewable sources of energy – both present opportunities for countries to address their energy challenges, it is the third pillar of the initiative that presents the greatest opportunity: doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

In addition to being one of the most cost-effective ways to increase energy, energy efficiency efforts also create opportunities for countries to reduce GHG emissions. This is part of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Initiative to supporting green growth in cost–effective ways.

Looking toward this future, opportunities vary from country to country, but they include increasing the energy efficiency of existing infrastructure through rehabilitation, moderating demand for energy, adopting more efficient technologies, and making cities more energy efficient.

These initiatives can help a country such as Guyana by simultaneously increasing its energy security, enhancing its economic growth, and reducing the environmental and social impacts of its energy sectors. By doing so, Guyana has the potential to increase industrial competitiveness.

[Senior Analyst]

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