- - Friday, October 10, 2014

It was an important symbol of the government’s commitment to providing reliable electricity the recent opening of a modern power plant in Paramaribo.

“Universal access is our guiding principle or electricity for every Surinamese citizen,” declared President Desir Bouterse, when formally opening the $50 million plant last August 15th before a gathering of government officials and employees of state electricity company EBS.

“With the opening of the new plant, we relieve the pressure on our electrical demand a little,” said Bouterse, whose four-year-old administration is undertaking an ambitious development plan and welcoming foreign investment.

Built by Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, the 63 Megawatt plant operated by EBS will help to provide electricity to some 200,000 residents in the Paramaribo area, as well as improve electrical service to gold-mining operations in the region. Powered by three diesel generators, the plant meets World Bank guidelines for noise and emissions an important consideration for Suriname. The plant is part of Suriname’s long-range plans to expand and improve its regional electricity program, and to generate electricity using multiple power sources.

The ultimate objective is to expand power capacity with another 152 Megawatts on the short-term. Power supply has been increased from 193 Megawatts (2010) to 295 Megawatts in 2014 - for which US$ 209 million has been invested in these past years representing an increase of 97 Megawatts.

Some of the projects include, the 5 Megawatt solar farm at Rosebel Goldmines; the Gunzi energy pilot project aiming to develop a model of hybrid energies for an additional 128 villages in the interior; Staatsolie’s Tout Lui Faut thermal power plant with a capacity of 62 Megawatts; expansion and upgrading of the transmission lines and distribution facilities. Feasibility studies are underway to provide for an additional 200 MW on the long-term, using renewable energy.

“To achieve our goal of electricity for each citizen and for our industrial ambitions, our focus will be on four technical areas, namely: hydro, solar, gas and the grid,” Bouterse said, adding that Suriname needed to “invest in a smarter network.”

This article was produced in conjunction with The Washington Times International Advocacy Department.

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