Amaila Falls project will become a reality

Dear Editor,
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government will push for development of the 165-MW Amaila Falls hydroelectric project, which was shelved by the APNU/AFC administration.
During his 2021 budget speech to Parliament, Dr Singh said Amaila “will become a reality” under President Irfaan Ali, who took office in August. The hydro plant has been targeted by the Government to help incorporate sustainable and cheaper electricity into the grid, and as part of a low-carbon development strategy.
The previous administration shelved the project due to legislative opposition around the high price tag (US$860 million to US$1 billion, according to some estimates)
“The single biggest impediment to accelerated economic and social development is the absence of adequate, affordable, and reliable energy. Key challenges include dependence on aged, fossil fuel-based generation capability; inadequate generating capacity, resulting in supply shortfalls; a porous transmission and distribution network, resulting in high technical losses; along with high levels of commercial losses,” said Singh.
The Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Plant will be a 165 MW (installed capacity) hydropower generation facility, that will be located in west-central Guyana, approximately 250km southwest of Georgetown.
The project involves (i) a hydropower plant at the confluence of the Amaila and Kuribrong rivers; (ii) an electrical interconnection facility consisting of about 270km of high-voltage redundant transmission line and sub-stations.
Guyana currently relies on imported fuel oil and diesel for its electricity generation, which is both expensive and carbon-intensive. The Amaila Falls Hydroelectric plant is expected to shift Guyana’s reliance from thermal generation to renewable energy, eliminate over 90 percent of our country’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and provide energy production for approximately 90% of Guyana’s population.
In addition, improve Guyana’s balance of payments’ position by significantly reducing the importation of fuel, significantly reducing end-user costs for electricity, and improving reliability of energy supply and generation of clean energy; which will help to encourage economic growth and development by improving regional competitiveness, private sector investment, and foreign direct investment.
The Minister also pointed to the more immediate prospect of landing natural gas onshore via a 210-km-long pipeline to supply a power plant of up to 250MW, and tapping non-conventional renewable sources of energy. In addition, Gy$700 million (US$3.35 million) has been budgeted to install 10 mini-grids and four off-grid systems this year for a combined 1.472 MW.
Other projects that would receive funding are mini-hydros at Kumu and at Moco-Moco, which will be tendered in 2021; and completion of the Kato hydro would be advanced. A combined Gy$840 million (US$4 million) has been earmarked for these projects.
Hydropower has four major advantages: it is renewable, it produces negligible amounts of greenhouse gases, it is the least costly way of storing large amounts of energy, and it can easily adjust the amount of electrical energy produced to the amount demanded by consumers.
To stimulate business enterprises in the future, our Government must reduce the cost of energy by 50% through a mix of hydro, gas, solar and wind, in an effort to provide reliable, renewable and cheap electricity.

David Adams