Several proposals to revive hydropower project but delay will not affect promise of cheap electricity

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The governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) is not giving up on plans to construct the 165-megawatt Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) despite several setbacks in the last decade.

On Thursday, Vice President Dr. Baharat Jagdeo told a news conference that there were several bilateral proposals that would now force the government to re-open another round of competitive bidding.

Jagdeo could not say when this will be done but he assured reporters that continued delays in setting up the plant will not affect the government’s promise of cheaper electricity in the short term.

It was previously reported that interest was registered by investors in Brazil, Korea, Canada and the United States of America.

“The best way to go is a competitive process… we have to go that way but we didn’t launch it yet.

“It will not affect our ability in the short run to supply additional power,” Jagdeo said.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo during a press conference at the Office of the President (Photo: News Room/August 31, 2023)

With these bilateral proposals, the government is expected to purchase electricity for about US $7 cents. The government has promised, by implementing a mix of renewable energy, to cut electricity costs by 50 per cent.

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.

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 but that fell through when the company wanted to change the model.

The company was unable to secure the necessary financing for the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model. Resultantly, the Chinese company requested to change the contract to an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model.

The government was not keen on the EPC model and is seeking an investor who will deliver the BOOT arrangement. With BOOT, the Vice President explained previously, the government would be assuming a low amount of risk.

Successive PPP governments have been pursuing the 165-megawatt Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP).

The project, a part of proposals to reduce electricity costs, had failed to get the support of the APNU+AFC opposition at a time when investors were ready to aid Guyana’s efforts to pursue a more low-carbon future.

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

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