Georgetown, Guyana – (January 24, 2019) The Office of Climate Change (OCC), today, concluded the first phase of the Transitioning to National Energy Security (TNES): Bartica as a model ‘Green’ Town Project at the cost of US$650,000, which has seen the gathering and compilation of data on energy use to inform evidence-based decision making for the future implementation of projects and programmes.

The OCC also announced that the Government of Italy through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (Five C’s) has already approved some US$3.67M for some of the recommendations coming out of the studies and audits to be implemented, particularly in the areas of capacity building, efficient lighting and feasibility studies for electric vehicles.

Head of the OCC, Ms. Janelle Christian in her remarks, said that the first phase of the project which began in June 2018 and lasted approximately six months saw the completion of all the energy audits, public awareness exercises and an energy data management centre established. She noted that this phase was the most critical component as it collected data which can be used by all Government agencies and Ministries to determine how programmes are rolled out in the town.

“It is important for us to spend very wisely and so the work conducted in Phase one is the basis for which we will identify tangible projects. There are also some agencies that will be using these reports to roll out programmes, for example, the Guyana Energy Agency has already used one of the reports to determine how it is going to make decisions for the town with regard to projects so it is not just about what we are doing, it will be available and can be used by all agencies,” she said.

Ms. Christian said given the fact that Bartica is a new town, there was a lack of adequate information to determine the types of projects that should be implemented to aid its pursuit of becoming a ‘green’ town. This first phase therefore ensures that a repository for Bartica is in place.

Project Coordinator, Mr. Gavin Bovell said that agencies in and out of Guyana were contracted to conduct work in five main areas: the Household Socio-Economic and Energy Use Baseline Survey, Audit of Public Facilities, Institutions and Street Lighting, Energy Audit of Transport Sector, Production of Content Manual and Implementation of Public Awareness and Education Campaigns and development of the Bartica website. In addition to the data gathered, coming out of Phase one, a website, has been established with the sole purpose of providing information on the town and its development.

With the Phase one of the Project completed, the Head of the OCC said that there has been approval from the Italian Government to support Phase two, which will involve tangible investment to carry forward some of the recommendations. One of the recommendations coming out of the Phase One ‘Energy Audit of Transport Sector’ is the need for a more energy efficient and ‘greener’ transport system. She therefore noted that this is one of the recommendations, which will be given due attention in the second phase.

“We will be focusing on electric mobility in Bartica not just cars and buses but lighter vehicles, which was one of the recommendations that came out the transport audit. We are talking things like e-scooters and e-bicycles and so very soon we should be advertising for such services to undertake the pre-feasibility [study] and also to advertise on the availability of where we can source such. Sustainability of this, of course, has a lot to do with capacity and so we want to know that there is a cadre of individuals in Bartica who will be trained in the maintenance and repairs of electrical vehicles to sustain this investment. With regard to the training component, we hope for this to be in collaboration with the technical institutes so that at the end of it, we can have a module or certificate programme which can be rolled out countrywide,” she said.

Consultant from the Institute of Environment and Development (IDAD) based in Portugal, Mr. Miguel Coutinho, who was contracted to conduct the Energy Audit of Transport Sector said that he would really like to see the development of an energy efficient transportation sector in Bartica, especially since it has a low carbon emission per capita already. Systems should be put in place to protect this, he said.

“I would be very happy to come back and see that the recommendations that we presented are implemented. I think that already there is good structure and the Office of Climate Change is motivated to get the work done and I think with the right people and the right institutions, a lot can happen,” Mr. Coutinho noted.

Additionally, the OCC is also exploring the possibility of waste to energy Projects and the feasibility study for this will be undertaken in the second phase.

“One of the other things that came out of the survey is that a large amount of homes are still using incandescent bulbs and so we hope in some way that we can facilitate some change out for those bulbs to more energy efficient instruments. We also want to target the availability of information on energy efficient appliances and what people can purchase because not a lot of people out there know what are the options that they can consider. So we want to roll out an education and public awareness component on that in the second phase,” Ms. Christian expressed.

There will also be a third phase, which will see a loan facility set up through funding of US$3M. Through this phase, the Head of OCC explained that opportunities will be provided for members of the private sector and individuals to access low interest loans. “This may be for, let’s say, an individual who may want to change out these high energy consuming appliances or for businesses who want to go in a new area that is in keeping with the vision,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Bartica, Mr. Gifford Marshall, in his remarks, said that Barticians are eager to witness the next phases of the Project as they will see tangible evidence of the work that is being undertaken to transform the town. The entire town, he said, has thrown its support behind the Project.

“Today is a reminder of how far we have come as a town and how much we have embraced the vision that was given to us by President David Granger of becoming the first green town in Guyana and the Caribbean, leading Guyana’s green pursuit. The TNES project is just one of the projects that is intended to bring out the transformation that we want to see in the town. We commend the OCC for this commitment to Bartica and for bringing these projects to the town. This project is very important to us and is one which we embrace. We cannot act without the necessary data and information and through this process, we have achieved that to inform our decisions,” he noted.

2R Productions Incorporated is tasked with the documentation of the project, preparation of the projections content manual and formulation of the communication plan for the way forward. Communication Consultant, Mr. Huntley Medley, in an invited comment said that based on interactions with the residents through consultations and at other forums, it is clear that they are ready and eager to see their ‘green’ town become a reality.

“By and large, the consultations produced evidence that there is significant support for the Project among all the agencies and groups that we engaged. I believe going forward it says to us that the collaborative approach is the best approach. For my organisation, we are taking away from this project, the strength of collaboration, the strength of coming together as well as the inherent benefits of moving to renewable energy in Guyana because it has significant benefits for the community, the region and the country at large,” he said.

As part of the TNES Project, the OCC also handed over two Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) kits to the Bartica and Three Miles Secondary Schools in an effort to equip them with technological skills, which can assist in finding solutions to aid the transition of Bartica into the first model ‘green’ town in Guyana and the Caribbean.

The OCC has over the past two years been implementing initiatives aimed at realising President David Granger’s vision to create a green economy throughout Guyana.

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