By Shaquawn Gill
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – As government pushes towards fulfilling its promise to implement a programme with an energy mix, president, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has assured that the Amaila Falls Hydropower (AFHP) project is still on the cards.
The president said Thursday, that government is committed to ensuring electricity costs is cut by 50 percent in the near future.
To facilitate this, government promised in its 2020 manifesto to implement a programme with an energy mix from various sources. Among these sources is hydropower energy.
“Let me be very clear. We are not going to abandon this project. If we have to go out [to tender] again and again…because we know the studies and everything, including the independent review by Norway has pointed to this project as being good for Guyana, being good for the environment and bringing greater prosperity,” the head of state explained.
In May, vice president Dr Bharrat Jagdeo announced that the construction of the US $700 million AFHP project could go back to tender after the current executing company claimed they were unable to operate under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model it initially agreed to.
The vice president explained that the company had requested to change the BOOT contract’s arrangement to an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract.
“We have been in discussion since November last year. The negotiations are very difficult. As of April 2022, they are having a hard time doing the BOOT contract and want EPC financing. We’re still trying to get them to meet the commitment that they bid for [but] for the last six months we have been struggling to reach the conclusion; we will have to give a deadline [on negotiations], Dr Jagdeo said.
Like the president, Dr Jagdeo affirmed that notwithstanding the delay, the government will still be moving ahead with the project, albeit with an extension of the timeline.
“If we can’t get it done under the BOOT, we will not be able to conclude the EPC finance model. We are stuck with the possibility of having to retender. That might be a bit of a setback but on the other hand, we are moving full steam ahead [with the project],” the VP had explained.
The AFHP project was expected to commence construction in 2022 and completed in 2025, adding 165 megawatts (MW) of energy to the national grid.
Through the project, the executing company would supply electricity to Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. at a cost not exceeding US$0.7737 per kilowatt-hour, provide the entire equity required by the project and undertake all the associated risks with the project.
The AFHP was first identified in 1976 by a Canadian company during an extensive survey of hydroelectric power potential in Guyana. Various studies have since justified and strongly supported the construction of the AFHP.