(Georgetown July 29, 2015) President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. William Warren Smith says that the institution is prepared to work with Guyana in an effort to help the country realize its full potential in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency. In an interview at the Ministry of the Presidency, Dr. Smith said the Bank will grasp at the opportunity to work with Guyana to address green energy.
Speaking on the challenges facing the sugar industry in Guyana, Dr. Smith described the possibility of transforming that sector by exploring renewable energy options. Dr. Smith said while his institution can’t resolve all of the issues, technical assistance can be given with the aim of resolving some of them. “What we can do is provide the technical assistance where you can acquire the expertise to advise you on the transformation of that industry so that it can realize its true potential.”
“Energy efficiency is an area which is frequently overlooked; in the discussion about reducing the cost of electricity and the cost of energy generally, but it is really the starting point for making a determination as to how you should address your energy costs,” he said. Dr. Smith further explained that the CDB recently established the Renewable and Energy Efficiency Unit, which has been set up in collaboration with the Government of Germany.
Germany will be providing technical assistance to staff of the CDB with the aim of addressing all of the key renewable energy options that are available. “When we look at Guyana we see unlimited opportunity in both the climate adaptation side and also in the renewable energy and energy efficiency side,” Dr. Smith said.
The CDB President added that the government has signaled is interest to work closely with the Bank and offer any assistance necessary. “There is hardly any form of renewable energy that Guyana does not have, with possibly the exception of geothermal. But you have wind, abundant hydro power potential and solar. We have capabilities in all of those areas and what we want to do is design an intervention program here that is consistent with your needs,” Smith said. However, in designing a program, Dr. Smith said it is important to give consideration to the peculiarities of the country.
“For example Guyana is a very large country with areas of relatively small population and population that are far apart so that we believe that renewable energy solutions are ideal for those types of circumstances,” he said. Moving forward Dr. Smith said a team from the CDB would have to conduct in-depth discussions with local experts as to how best the geographic challenges and be overcome.
Pointing to what renewable energy and energy efficiency can do for Guyana’s economy, Dr. Smith said these options are “exciting” and technology is developing at an inviting pace. “Not only is the technology good, its developing nicely from the point of view of the cost of it, but also what is equally exciting is that financial resources are now becoming available, which are attractively priced,” he said.
Dr. Smith added that equally important, is the fact that, “Some of those resources are grant resources, meaning you don’t have to pay back, which makes the economics of implementation of renewable energy very much within the reach of the poorest of the Caribbean countries.”
Another major reason for pursing this initiative, Dr. Smith said, is because bringing down the cost of electricity would also mean making Guyana’s economy more competitive. “You’ll be able to become internationally attractive for the export of goods and services and it will help to improve the quality of life for your people,” Smith added.