Guiana is firmly committed to reconciling local energy needs with the environmental challenges of the 21st century, as demonstrated by the plans for a new biomass energy plant slated to open in 2020 in Cacao, in the east of the country.
This project addresses a critical need. Under the influence of demographic growth and increasing rates of appliance ownership among Guyanese households, energy needs have been growing steadily and will continue to do so over the coming years (+2.3% per year for the next 5 years, according to EDF’s reference scenario).
Developing renewable energy sources, which already make up 50% of the Guyanese energy mix, is a crucial solution to meet this growing demand while also meeting the climate challenge.
To this end, Guiana has chosen to take advantage of its workable forest land, including land cleared for agriculture, while leaving old-growth forests untouched. These resources are a key input for the biomass sector. The plant under construction in Cacao, which combines renewable energy with a circular economic model, is a perfect illustration.
The Voltalia group is supervising construction of the Cacao biomass plant and will also manage its operation. Specializing in renewable energy, it is the leading private energy producer in Guiana, with a biomass plant, a hydroelectric plant, and two solar plants for a total capacity of 12 MW.
Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Voltalia have already worked together on the energy transition in Egypt. This time, AFD is supporting Voltalia’s new project in Guiana with an €8 million loan. The total budget is nearly €70 million.
“With AFD Group, Voltalia gains the benefits of a strong partner to support the roll-out of its portfolio of renewable electrical plants in Guiana. The Cacao biomass project is an excellent example,” says Gautier Le Maux, Director of Development for Voltalia Guyane.
Guiana currently has only one biomass plant, which has been operating since 2009 in Kourou. Three projects are currently in the development or construction phase, in Cacao, Saint-Georges de l’Oyapock and Montsinéry-Tonnégrande respectively.
Construction on the Cacao biomass plant began in July 2018, with the first stone laid at a ceremony with Sébastien Lecornu, French Secretary of State for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition. It is scheduled to begin operations in 2020.