Release fact-based assessment of Amaila Falls – Jagdeo

first_imgGovernment’s unjustifiable delay in the release of the fact-based assessment of Amaila Falls – which would have determined if this was the ideal route for renewable energy in Guyana – creates strong suspicions of attempts to hide the conclusions in the report.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has issued another call for the release of this document so that Guyanese and businesses can access an independent assessment of the merits of Amaila Falls and determine for themselves if the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition’s decision to scrap the project was indeed in the best interest of the country.Amaila Falls could have been almost operational by now and consumers could have been close to seeing the end to expensive, unreliable and dirty electricity and Guyana would have been entering into the ranks of the top 10 users of clean energy worldwide.An artist’s impression of the Amaila Fall Hydropower ProjectAn artist’s impression of the Hope Beach Wind Farm ProjectThe project, which would have been the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country’s history, had the potential to reintegrate the country with the global capital markets for the first time in over 40 years, the Opposition Leader said in the statement.“Instead, Guyanese face years more of unreliable electricity supply and excessively high bills – with no end in sight. Blackouts last for up to 10 hours a day, and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is putting future electricity costs up by buying expensive, dirty energy supplies. Only two weeks ago, they bought four new oil-based generators. The blame for this situation lies entirely with the APNU/AFC coalition,” read an excerpt of a statement from the Office of the Opposition Leader on the matter.Global capital marketsThe missive explained that the People’s National Congress (PNC) party, now APNU, caused Guyana to be excluded from the global capital markets in the first place – and the decades of zero investment in Guyana that resulted.The Opposition chronicled that upon assuming office in 2015, APNU/AFC continued their “economic vandalism” by stopping the project in its tracks.“They justified these acts of vandalism through a series of inaccurate statements, including when the Finance Minister stood before the National Assembly and declared that to proceed with the Amaila Falls project would be “a downright criminal act of deception.” The Minister said that the Government’s “investigations” had revealed that Amaila Falls would cost GPL US$2.6 billion over 20 years. President Granger said that the Amaila Falls Hydropower project would saddle Guyanese with decades of debt,” the statement posited.The Party outlined that Amaila Falls has repeatedly been identified as the best fit for the first major hydropower development in the country and that the ideal way for its development would be through a public-private venture.In 2013, Guyana had secured a best-in-class US private investor to be the major sponsor for Amaila Falls and the contractor to build the project was selected through an open, competitive, international process.The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) pointed out too that the then Opposition was privy to all of this information – that the Amaila Falls Project met the world-class social and environmental safeguards of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).The Party noted that Guyana could have sustained its global leadership on green growth and low carbon development, instead of being relegated to the rump of countries that talk about green growth but does not act.Jagdeo has already labelled this Government as being one of such, with President Granger constantly touting the concept of a green economy but not taking any strident measures towards its realisation.Govt wrongThe Party contended that Granger was outright wrong when he declared that the Project would saddle Guyanese with debt.“There would be no public debt. The Government’s contribution to Amaila Falls would largely come from US$80 million which was earned in payments from Norway and has been sitting – unused – in a bank account at the World Bank and then the Inter-American Development Bank for years. By 2017, Amaila Falls could be generating about 50 per cent more electricity than the entire GPL supply in 2012, for about half the cost,” it explained.The PPP/C argued that customers’ electricity bills would have decreased significantly from 2017, and would further plunge in stages until it reached 90 per cent cheaper than they were in 2012.Government had initially promised to release the report by May 2016 but now it is saying that the document will be made public in January 2017.Government is now pursuing, as an alternative to the Amaila Falls Project, the Hope Beach Wind Farm Project – but the Opposition has since contended that this will not generate enough capacity to dramatically transform the country.last_img

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