Georgetown, Guyana – (June 1, 2019) Director, Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe said the sustainable development of Guyana’s recent hydrocarbon discoveries and the revenues which they will accrue have the potential to truly place the country on a sustainable development pathway. He noted too that it is occurring at a particularly opportune time as the country is pursuing development based on the principles enshrined in its Green State Development Strategy (GSDS). Dr. Bynoe made these statements at the University of Guyana’s 'Turkeyen and Tain Talks 18’ event titled “Energy for Guyana, Renewable Energy, Oil, Gas and Guyana’s Green Future,” which was hosted at the Pegasus Hotel as part of ‘Energy Week’ activities.
Dr. Bynoe was among eight other panellists from a group including professors from local and international academia, among others, relative to the energy sector, who made presentations to translate new concepts and foster further discussions on creating a productive, efficient and sustainable energy sector in Guyana.
In his discourse on the topic “Oil and Gas in a Green’ Guyana,” Dr. Bynoe said, “Energy is not an end in itself. It’s what it can be used for to transform the lives and livelihoods of all Guyanese going forward. Further, the GSDS is premised upon the effective management of the country’s natural resource wealth, inclusive of our hydrocarbons, supporting economic resilience and building human capital Guyana.”
He noted too that pursuing oil and gas development does not necessarily run counter to the paradigms of the GSDS model.
“It is not just about energy; it’s a development paradigm. How can we achieve these objectives in the face of Guyana’s expanding oil and gas reserve estimates? Firstly, while there continues to be substantial discussions around the utilization of the oil revenues (as there should be), the hydrocarbon resource revenues are expected to be the catalyst for growth and funding of the GSDS, whether, for example, in pursuing cheap and reliable energy, including for value addition in other sectors…. We must be able to understand where the growth sectors are and be able to target and put resources therein and I can say coming from my own background, and what we’re already seeing, in terms of the supporting structures to support the oil and gas industry, we’re already seeing an increasing demand for energy,” he said.
Guyana Energy Agency, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mahender Sharma shared a similar view. In his presentation titled “Guyana and Energy: A General Overview” he said having oil and gas does not preclude Guyana from pursuing sustainable development.
“I see the word ‘sustainable’ is absent from this title, but not because we have oil and gas means [that] we cannot approach our energy sector development and our country’s development in a sustainable manner. We all know that we have lots of hydropower resources; we know that we get good sunshine. We’ve also learnt that the wind regime on the coast of Guyana is fairly good…and Government has been capitalising on much of this,” he said.
Dr. Sharma recalled that Guyana’s hydro power potential, for example, was examined since around the 1970s’ and “that is huge; it’s at the order of 7000 megawatts. Our peak demand is still about 115-118 megawatts… [or thereabouts] so we need to develop that… The energy matrix of the future must bring in to consideration, must incorporate what we have in Guyana, must incorporate gas, oil, if possible, hydro power, solar and wind and that diversity is what adds strength and provides us [with] the kind of energy security that we need,” he said.
In this vein, Professor of Corporate Finance and Energy Investment at ITAM and CBMEX in Mexico, Jose Pablo Rinkenbach, who said his country has been producing oil for more than 100 years and has over the last 10 years, been creating a robust and sustainable energy sector, said there are five lessons that were learnt that may prove valuable for
Guyana at this stage of her development.
“The first one has to be that you have to have an holistic approach. Don’t think just about oil and gas, think about energy, because otherwise you risk having … Dutch disease of putting all the resources into oil and gas. Having energy and energy focus will help you in order to have a right balanced energy matrix…” he said. Having a robust regulatory framework, embracing transparency, focusing on national development and managing information are also important, he added.
This event was hosted as part of the University’s roster of activities for its “Energy Week” observance.
Professor Sayfe Kiaei, School of Electrical, Energy and Computer Engineering; Professor Gary Dirks, Director of the Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; Programme Manager at CARIOM Energy Programme, Dr. Devon Gardner; Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG) , Professor Michael E. Scott and Dr. Paloma Mohamed respectively, Ms. Verlyn Klass of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Mr. Vishal Persaud, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, both of UG also attended the event.