Construction of Amaila Falls hydro project to commence 2022

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Amaila Falls, Region 8

By Kemol King

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – The PPP/C government is looking to revive its brainchild, the 165 Megawatts (MW) Amaila Falls Hydropower project (AFHP) with intent to start construction in 2022 and completion in 2025.

The office of the prime minister is looking for a partner to develop the project. It has published a request for proposals, which outlines two options for the project’s development.

With the first option, Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) all of the costs of the project up to the commissioning date would be borne by the developer, who would operate the project for a 20-year BOOT period. At the end of the BOOT period, the project would revert to the government at no cost.

With the second option, Design, Build, Finance (DBF) the developer would finance the development of the project up to the commissioning date. The government would take over the project and fulfil the financing repayment obligations, only upon and at the satisfactory completion of construction and commissioning.

The government expects submissions to contain proposals, including project costs, for each of the two options, and it will choose one.

The development of the AFHP is required to fulfil the current development and expansion plan of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) which projects the total capacity required of 465 MW and energy of 2,900 Gigawatts-hours (GHW) in 2025.

The proposed completion date for the 165 MW, AFHP would see it being completed one year after the 300 MW Gas-to-Shore project, which will supply at least 250 MW. Other sources include renewable energy projects (wind, solar and hydro) and heavy fuel oil (HFO). The government intends for these to make up any balance or serve as backup.

The AFHP was in the making for years, but from 2011 onwards, the combined parliamentary opposition of APNU and AFC, prevented the project from proceeding.

In an April 15 interview with the ‘Guyanese Critic’, vice president, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo MP, reminded that the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) an office of the Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs – had hired Norconsult to conduct a study – Review of the Amaila Falls Hydropower project in Guyana.

In the 2016 publication, the Norconsult report stated that the development of Guyana’s hydropower capacity is the only realistic path towards an emission-free electricity sector. It said the fastest way forward is to maintain the AFHP as the first major step for substituting Guyana’s current oil-fired generation.

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