IsDB funding project to supply Lethem with hydropower
– int’l consultant being sought to design, install connections
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), through the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), is funding a project that will see the Lethem Power Company (LPC) being connected with 16.84 kilometres of transmission lines from hydropower projects.
A notice was issued by the GEA, in which it is seeking a consultant to design, supply, install, test and commission 13.8kV of transmission lines and communication infrastructure, which will connect Kumu and Moco hydropower plants to the LPC grid “on a single responsibility basis”.
According to the GEA, the Government has received financing from the IsDB which will go towards addressing funding shortfalls in the Hinterland Electrification Programme. It was further explained that some of the funding from this allocation will go towards the construction and rehabilitation of the two small hydropower plants.
“Bidding will be conducted through the open international competitive bidding (ICB-Open) procedures specified in the guidelines for procurement of goods and works and related services under IsDB project financing April 2019 (Procurement guidelines),” the agency said.
It was explained that the tender would be open to bidders from both IsDB members and non-member countries. Bidders will have until January 11, 2024, to submit their bids to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).
The Government has been engaged in works to the tune of US$12.8 million on the Kumu and Moco Moco hydropower projects in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), in an effort to supply clean and efficient energy to the national grid.
Last year, a Sri Lankan company called Vidullanka PLC won an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract for both the Kumu and Moco Moco facilities. The two projects will see the construction of a new 1.5-megawatt (MW) hydropower project at Kumu and upgrades to the defunct Moco Moco hydropower plant to some 0.7MW capacity. The projects are intended to increase access to electricity for the population in Lethem and nearby communities.
Electricity supply in the Lethem area is currently provided by the LPC on a 24-hour basis, generated from the company’s six diesel units with a total installed capacity of 3.825 MVA fuel. This accounts for an estimated 65 per cent of operational costs. The fuel is transported by bulk transportation carriers – 450 kilometres from Georgetown to Lethem on unpaved roads, which become very challenging during the rainy season, resulting in delays in delivery.
The high cost of electricity has been a major concern for the longest while, with the demand for power in Lethem only expected to intensify considering the expansion of businesses and the Government’s housing programmes in the area.
The Moco Moco hydropower project is a high-head run-of-the-river diversion type system that is technically and economically feasible and will generate approximately 4565 MWh/yr of energy annually.
The structures that were initially installed in the project include a diversion system, headrace, forebay, penstock, powerhouse, tailwater canal, step-up substation, administration buildings, and a transmission line.
The hydropower project was commissioned on November 22, 1999. The hydropower station was designed and built by the Chinese through a joint arrangement between the Governments of Guyana and China.
The Moco hydropower plant supplied power to the community of Lethem and its environs, but severe rainstorms and a subsequent landslide on July 5, 2003 resulted in a fractured penstock.
The Government has since been actively discussing options for its restoration. Financing is needed for a geotechnical survey to inform the project design and assist in de-risking the project.
The project will provide electricity from an indigenous and renewable energy source to serve the demand of Lethem and its environs.
Lethem, Region Nine, has been going through a period of rapid development, as the Government seeks to build the Linden-to-Mabura Hill road, which will eventually reach all the way to Lethem. As of last month, over two kilometres of asphaltic road has been completed and preparations are ongoing for another five kilometres.
Traversing some sections of the Linden-to-Lethem road has been a nightmare for heavily-laden lorries over the past few years, with many toppling off the roadway. The bridges are even worse. Some vehicle operators have to align the boards before attempting to cross. They do not always make it over safely.
The US$190 million contract for the road was signed in May 2022 with Brazilian company Construtora Queiroz Galvao SA for the construction of the 121-kilometre road. The project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) via a US$112 million loan, a grant to the tune of £50 million (US$66 million) from the United Kingdom under the Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (CIPF), and an input of US$12 million from the Guyana Government.
This is the largest grant Guyana has ever received from the Government of the UK.
With a 7.2-metre-wide carriageway, the Linden-Mabura road is expected to feature a cycle and pedestrian lane measuring two metres wide, along with 10 bus stops outfitted with ramps for persons with disabilities. Additionally, a number of bridges and culverts along the way will be replaced, and some 123 lights will be installed.