“The Brazilians, since 2009, have offered to build hydropower in Guyana with the intention of providing all the power that we need in Guyana, which is only 300 MW, along with the excess that they need in Northern Brazil, which they would buy,” he told a press conference during a presentation of what he and a team of other engineers, including Eric Holder and Retired Major General Joe Singh have are calling Guyana 30.
Brazil’s offer was expressed as early as 2009 during a visit by former Brazilian President Lula Ignacia da Silva. Da Silva’s offer, which he made while in Guyana, was reported in a September 14, 2009 Guyana Information Agency (GINA) publication.
According to GINA, da Silva, speaking through his translator during the commissioning of the Takutu Bridge, said Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy, Edison Lobao, was “slated to visit Guyana” in October “to continue discussions on the possibilities of establishing an 800 megawatt hydro-power project in the Middle Mazaruni, Region Seven.”
In addition to da Silva’s statements, GINA reported that top Venezuelan government officials, on September 7th 2010, met President Jagdeo to discuss the possibility of establishing the 800MW hydro-power project.
Gianfranco Miceli, Commercial Director of the company Brazil planned to use to construct the power stations, had said that he project would commence “when the necessary agreements with the authorities in Guyana are complete,” GINA had reported. He had speculated that if the project had commenced in 2010 it could have been completed by 2015.
Brazil’s motive for the deal is to help satisfy its own demand. Ming shared that Roraima, in northern Brazil, is cut off from southern Brazil by the Amazon Rainforest and is thus unable to access the amount of power required to meet the demands there.
“Eleven cities in that northern part of Brazil are blacked out every day on a rotational basis” as a result, he explained. Ming says that Brazil wants to finance and build two hydropower stations in Guyana: one having the capacity to produce 2000 MWs of power, and the other the capacity to produce 700 MWs.
Once the plants are built Guyana would benefit from the 300 MW it needs while Brazil would purchase the remaining 2400 MW.
“In so doing Guyana will not be indebted because Brazil will find the financing and they will repay the cost of the loan by the power purchasing agreement that they will sign with Guyana,” Ming shared.
This deal never materialized though. Instead, the government of Guyana moved to strike a deal with Sithe Global on the Amaila Hydropower Project which, if completed, would cost US$858 million, a substantial portion of which would have to be sourced by government through loans primarily. Additionally, the Amaila Falls project would only supply around 90 percent of Guyana’s energy needs.
Several features of the agreement with Sithe Global drew the ire of opposition parties of the National Assembly – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) – whose actions made attempts to pass bills pertinent to the project’s continuation tumultuous, and eventually, unsuccessful.
Ming says that the offer from Brazil is still on the table and argued that it is one that Guyana can benefit substantially from.