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Spotlight: Guyana’s electricity needs will come from Renewable Energy

The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) is the next major development undertaking for Guyana that will revolutionise the electricity sector, making it more reliable and cheaper to the business community and regular consumers.

Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo. AFP PHOTO

Projected to be completed within the next three years, the project, located at Amaila Falls in the Kuribrong River, a tributary of the Potaro River will have enough capacity to be the source of the country’s entire electricity needs.

With a height of approximately 200 feet, flowing down a series of rapids and falls for almost two miles before reaching placid water, the Amaila Falls Project holds the potential to produce some 140 megawatts of electricity which can produce 70 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Ahead of the actual construction however, Government has begun facilitating arrangements for access to the site with a US$15M contract award for construction and upgrade of 110 kilometres (km) of new roads coupled with upgrades to 85 km of existing infrastructure.

Among the interventions is the construction of bridges across the Kuribrong River, a pontoon to cross the Essequibo River and the cutting of some of the pathways for the transmission main.

Such an undertaking is likely to take eight to ten months during which time financial closure with Sithe
Global, the lead financing group for Amaila Falls hydropower project, will be reached. With Government’s pre-financing of the road it is expected that the interest cost would be reduced.

Government has engaged the Inter-American Development Bank and China Development Bank and other investors in discussions on securing the financing so that the project could advance.

At an interview in 2009 with Kaieteur News journalist Adam Harris and editor in Chief of the National Communications Network (NCN) Michael Gordon President Jagdeo said “it will cost us three-times more to build the hydro and to transmit the electricity from the long distance than if we were to go to the fossil type of investment, but in the long run, it will assist tremendously because the cost of generation will come down. Secondly you don’t have to pay because it is a renewable resource.”

Speaking at Wednesday’s Champion of the Earth award welcome home ceremony, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) the Head of State said the commencement works on the project will begin by the end of this year.

Referring to the controversy which surfaced after the contract was awarded, the President said such a reaction has been evident in every big project undertaken by the Government.

Nevertheless he said “we went out to a public tender and we awarded the contract to the best bidder.”
The hydropower project is just one of many major investments which government will undertake with the financial flows coming from the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Among these are education and health, Information Communication Technology (ICT) related services and strengthening sea defence.

Source: Caribbean Net News



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