Residents of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) are set to benefit from cheaper, reliable energy as the Government of Guyana looks to rehabilitate the defunct 500Kw Moco Moco Hydropower Plant.
Not only will this upgraded plant add an installed capacity of 700 kw to the grid, but the energy will be cleaner since it will not generate significant greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, the Hydro-Power Plant (HPP) will increase the share of renewable energy sources within the country’s electrical generation system, in the context of sustainable energy development.
The Moco Moco Hydropower project is a high head run-of-the-river diversion type system which is technically and economically feasible, and will generate approximately 4,565 MWh/yr. of energy annually. The structures that were initially installed in the project included a diversion system, headrace, forebay, penstock, powerhouse, tail water canal, step-up substation, administration buildings and a transmission line. The new project will seek to maintain the current location of the existing hydraulic structure (weir), headrace, forebay, powerhouse, step up substation and tailwater canal.
The penstock alignment will be determined when the geotechnical and topographical surveys are completed, and as such, water will be extracted from the left bank of the Moco Moco creek.
Electricity supply in the Lethem area is currently provided by the Lethem Power Company (LMPC) on a 24-hour basis, generated from the company’s six diesel units with a total installed capacity of 3.825 MVA fuel. This accounts for an estimated 65 per cent operational costs. The fuel is transported by bulk transportation carriers- 450 km from Georgetown to Lethem on unpaved roads, which becomes very challenging during the rainy seasons, resulting in delays in delivery.
Though generation cost is about US$0.49 kwh, consumers currently pay an average rate of US$0.33 -0.40 per kwh, thus requiring government subsidies in the range of US$500,000 per annum. With income at subsistence level, the high cost of electricity supply remains a major burden on households and businesses, which is expected to intensify considering the expansion of businesses and government’s housing programmes in the area.
Therefore, while the area’s peak demand is 800 kW, it is expected to increase in the short to medium-term, particularly since Government has recently completed infrastructural works for an industrial estate in the town, which will add to the demand for a more affordable electricity supply.
The estimated capital cost of the 700 kW Moco Moco Hydropower plant is US$2.2 million.
Notably, the Government of Guyana has also applied to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for financial support for the Hinterland Electrification Programme, and intends to use some of the proceeds to fund the construction and rehabilitation of the 1.5-Megawatt (MW) plant at Kumu.
In addition to the operationalisation of the largescale gas-to-energy and Amaila Falls Hydropower projects for the main grid, the government intends to expand the Hinterland Electrification Programme by implementing several small, renewable energy projects for urban and off-grid communities.