Emergency power procurement: “We can’t wish for capacity; we have to buy”– Pres Ali responds to naysayers

…as Govt confirms power ship to arrive in 15 days

Questioned about the “feasibility” of buying emergency power from a ship to alleviate the country’s black out woes, President Dr Irfaan Ali has made it clear that the initiative is not only a feasible plan, but a necessary one.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Local Content Summit 2024, President Ali made it clear that the capacity that the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) needs to meet electricity demands can’t come via a magical wish. Instead, a power purchase agreement would have to be signed.
“You can’t wish that capacity will come and the problem will be solved. We have to buy capacity. The question you should ask, that I will help you to ask, is should we charge the persons who blocked the Amaila Falls? Otherwise, we would not have needed to buy this capacity now. We would have 165 Megawatts available from Amaila Falls to push the power we need now.”
“But lack of foresight, lack of vision, lack of understanding and planning… since then, we knew what the demand would be. That is why we said, we need the Amaila Falls Hydro, 165 Megawatts of green energy powering the future. We didn’t get it.”
President Ali further revealed that the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change’s (APNU/AFC) claims of doing a better job running the power sector is built on a lie, since the coalition relied on the investments that the previous People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government made in electricity generation prior to leaving government in 2015.
“Why did you have power from 2015 to 2020? It is because of the investments we made when we were in government. During that period, the investment was not supported. They did not maintain the investment. They did not add to the investment. As a result, we came back, we inherited what we left. With no new capacity added. With no new money spent on maintenance.”
“We then had to spend on maintaining, adding capacity, whilst we were faced with that, we had exponential growth. We have to meet the demand. To meet the demand, we have to buy power. Its an emergency now. There are very few companies that can give you this power in 15 days. We’ve been able to get this power in 15 days. I congratulate all those who helped us to get here.”
Further, Ali noted that there is a narrative going around that would seek to blame the government for the power outages. According to President Ali, however, this would not deter his government from pursuing its goals.
“Some people would enjoy us not meeting the demand, because you’d get the free opportunity to go on social media every day. We take ownership. We take ownership of what we inherited and we take ownership of the problem. But guess what? We take the responsibility of finding the solution. And we’re going to find the solution to every challenge,” the Head of State said.

Arrival in 15 days
Meanwhile, Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar, revealed during a panel discussion at the Local Content Summit that the power ship is scheduled to depart from Cuba on Wednesday, April 17, and arrive within 15 days.
Once operational, this vessel will inject approximately 36 megawatts of electricity into the national grid, offering much-needed relief. It was further explained that the power ship will be integrated into the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) for 24 months. Preparatory work is also currently underway by GPL, to ensure the power ship can be connected to the national grid.
“So, the blackout is a temporary thing. It will be fixed. And there is a plan to deal with it, in the immediate term to address the shortage generation capacity, so that we can bridge until the gas to energy comes with the 300 megawatts. It will take it to a total of 500 plus megawatts,” Indar said.
In addition to the power ship, the government has invested in 17 generators and six step-up transformers. The minister said that to date, 15 of these generators have been installed at the Columbia sub-station. These generators are expected to add another 30 megawatts to the grid.
The company that the government will be buying the power from is the Latin American arm of Turkish-based Karpowership – which operates a fleet of ships that generate electricity. The contract is expected to be signed in the coming days and the power installed within the next three weeks. (G3)