Gov’t not wavering on model for Amaila Falls hydropower project

… Jagdeo certain much-needed project will help country achieve energy targets

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The Amaila Falls hydropower project is still being pursued with the government steadfast on the project’s development model, despite the preferred contractor being unable to fund the project in that manner.

This is according to Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who, on Monday, reiterated that the government may need to re-tender the project.

“They want to change the model and we can’t change the model,” the Vice President said at the sidelines of an event on Monday.

He added that the government is “heading back to the drawing board” and may have to re-tender the project so that it secures a contractor that is able to execute the project as per the government’s specifications.

The China Railway Group Limited, the company initially selected to construct the Amaila Falls in 2012, was once again granted approval to construct this massive renewable energy project in 2021.

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo addressing residents of Region Six (Photo: Office of the Vice President/June 2, 2022)

The company has, however, been unable to secure the necessary financing for the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model. Dr. Jagdeo, at a recent press conference, related that the Chinese company has requested to change the contract to an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model.

Under the BOOT model, the company would fund the development of the project then operate and maintain the completed project, earning from the service provided. After some predefined period, the project would be handed over to the government.

Essentially, the government would be incurring no debt. The Government was also expected to purchase electricity for about US $7 cents- a cheaper price than is currently paid.

This hydropower project is an integral part of the government’s plan to create an energy mix that will meet the growing electricity demand while allowing Guyana to gradually phase out the use of environmentally- unfriendly fossil fuels like diesel.

The other integral components in the government’s energy mix are the forthcoming gas-to-shore project and the countrywide solar power network. Altogether, these projects should meet the tripled electricity demand in about four years’ time.

Now that the government has invited bids for the gas-to-energy project, the Vice President said that focus will be directed on the development of the hydropower project.

“Now we can focus back our attention because Amailia was part of the energy mix to allow us to cut our emissions by 70 per cent and still triple our installed capacity,” he explained.

Guyana has committed to slashing its emissions of harmful gases- produced through the use of heavy fuel- by some 70 per cent by 2030. In simpler terms, the country hopes to get about 70 per cent of its energy from cleaner, or more renewable sources.

Construction of the Amaila Falls project was expected to commence in 2022, with a 2025 completion date. With this delay, the Vice President was optimistic that the project could still be completed by 2030- enabling Guyana to meet its energy targets.

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