Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Guyana government promises to deliver hydropower project

Published:Sunday | January 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Guyana government says it will deliver the multimillion- dollar Amaila Falls hydropower project and that construction work will begin within months.

The Donald Ramotar administration has consistently accused the opposition parties A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) of stifling the project which he said would provide more affordable and more reliable energy for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

For too long, Guyanese have looked forward to harnessing our countrys vast hydropower potential. The time for realising this dream is long overdue. Unreliable and unaffordable electricity continues to be the biggest impediment to investment and job creation in Guyana.

My government will deliver the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project to the Guyanese people, along with all its attendant benefits. Within months, we expect to achieve financial close and commence construction, and this project will come into operation during our new term in office, Ramotar said.

The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is considered the flagship of Guyanas Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The government says it will meet approximately 90 per cent of the countrys domestic energy needs while removing dependency on fossil fuels.

The Amaila Falls hydroelectric plant will be a 165 megawatt hydropower generation facility that will be located in west-central Guyana, approximately 250 kilometres southwest of Georgetown.

In 2013, Sithe Global Power, LLC, an international development company engaged in the development, construction, acquisition and operation of electric generation facilities around the world, said it needed the backing of all three major political parties for the project to move forward.

UNIFORM CONSENSUS

Sithe Global cannot continue its development efforts without the same level of commitment from our partners in Guyana. We can only proceed further if there is uniform consensus in Parliament that you support this project, Brian Kubeck, the president of Sithe Global, said then.

But while the AFC supported the project, the APNU voted against bills related to the project.

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh said that the passage of the Hydro-Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, as well as the accompanying motion to increase the guarantee limit of loans from GUY$1 billion to $150 billion, was necessary to ensure the continued development of the country.

While he gave no indication as to how the project would now be financed, President Ramotar, in his New Years Day message, hinted that the funds would come through the LCDS Georgetown has with Norway.

Last year, Guyana received its fourth payment under this partnership, bringing the total earned so far to US$150 million.

Ramotar said these earnings are being invested for both the social and economic betterment of all Guyanese.

He said that given the success of the project last September we launched the next phase of this initiative, which is supporting development in an additional 161 communities with an investment of over GUY$1.2 billion.

Under the LCDS, resources are also being dedicated to the land-titling process so that more Amerindian communities can have title to their lands.

The flagship of the LCDS is the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. I am pleased to announce that Norway has transferred earnings from our partnership of approximately US$80 million to the Inter-American Development Bank to fund part of Guyanas equity share in the project, Ramotar said.

This is a significant accomplishment. It demonstrates that all partners have strong confidence in Amaila. The project is once again moving forward, he added.

CMC