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Amaila Falls hydropower licence expires

The hydropower station licence granted to the United States-based Sithe Global, expired Tuesday with little chance of it being renewed even as government searches for a new investor.

Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon said that while government remained committed to the AFH project the licence was not renewed because no negotiations were held with the company.

“The licence will expire. I think logic would preclude in the absence of something concrete in moving ahead to renew a licence to engage in the prerequisites,” he said.

Sithe Global walked away from the US$854 million project after it failed to gain bipartisan support for a debt guarantee as a safeguard should the government structure change in any future election.

Luncheon said the search was continuing for a new investor in the renewable energy project that proponents said would save much needed foreign exchange being spent on fossil fuels and slash domestic and commercial electricity bills.

The Cabinet Secretary reiterated that government was still searching for an interested investor from neighbouring countries as well as further afield. “We are continually engaging interests both from our neighbours and further afield in having this reality realised,” he said.

Ahead of the development of a design similar to Sithe Global 165 megawatt plant, government was continuing the construction of a road to the site of the proposed plant.

“Work is going on on the Amaila Road,” said Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn. He planned to provide details next week.

The opposition had objected to the project on grounds that too little information about the ability of Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to pay AHP for the power, the real cost to consumers because of a poor transmission and distribution network and possible hidden costs.