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Mahdia and nearby villages could be using hydroelectric power by mid 2016

Director, Tumatumari Hydro Inc Herman Rohlehr addressing the leadership forum at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre

The community of Tumatumari, home to a defunct 1500kW hydro power plant, could soon return to the renewable power supply following the reactivation of the hydropower facility in the area, according to the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Tumatumari Hydro Inc, a special process, private sector Company, with a 50-50 partnership between local and regional investors, has sought to invest in the rehabilitation and expansion of the plant to produce and sell bulk electricity.

Director, Tumatumari Hydro Inc Herman Rohlehr has disclosed that the company is set to start initial operations in the second half of next year.  “We look forward to having hydroelectric power on a modest scale in place by the end of July of 2016,” Rohlehr informed a leadership forum at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre on July 31. The event was facilitated by the Ministry of Communities.

The Tumatumari Hydroelectric Rehabilitation Project is one element of the Tumatumari Industrial Development Project. The project is aimed at establishing a natural resource based industrial operations that utilises existing endowments of water, forest and minerals in Region Eight. The provision of clean, relative, inexpensive, renewable energy (hydroelectricity) is at the core of the initiative, through the rehabilitation and operation of the existing Tumatumari Hydroelectric station.

 Phase one of the project entails rehabilitation of the hydroelectric plant to deliver 1.5megawatts of power and the construction of two 30 kilometer power delivery lines.

Phase two will see the facility expanded by the addition of two more 0.75 megawatts turbine.

The primary consumers would be from Mahdia and contiguous communities including Tutmatumari and Micobie, and Troy Resources Guyana Gold Mining operations. It has a  projected tariff  rate of  US18 cents for a kilowatt of power.

Rohlehr told the forum that the company intends spend US$5M for Phases one and two.

The results of the investment should see the provision of low cost renewable energy for bulk supply to  the communities and to residential distributors, include those that supply electricity to the approximately 600 existing consumers in Mahdia community.

According to Rohlehr, Tumatumari Hydro Inc, has negotiated a power purchase agreement with the Mahdia Power and Light (MPL) Limited. The agreement provides for bulk electricity to be sold to MPL which would in turn, retail it to consumers.

Rohlehr stated that the Tumatumari Hydroelectric Rehabilitation Project also provides for an additional 300 consumers in the planned Mahdia housing scheme development. It also caters for another 80 consumers in adjacent communities along the power line extension, including the Amerindian villages of Micobie and Princeville.

He explained that the overarching Tumatumari Industrial development also includes two other components. These are, the Tumatumari Lumber Inc which will be engaged in the building, drying and finishing of lumber and, a quarry project that will provide for dimension stones, which will be mined, cut and polished into black granite.

Rohlehr pointed out that these operations are to be adjacent to the hydroelectric power station. He noted that together, their upstream development will bring investment, value added natural resource based industries, underpinned by cheap and reliable energy.

In addition to a projected saving of approximately US$40M on fuel imports into Guyana over the first ten years of operations; based on the average oil prices of US$17 per barrel, the projects are set to enhance the potential for nearby ecotourism, improve the social and economic livelihoods within the hinterland communities and other benefits including, access to internet services through the planned introduction of broadband over power line technology.

They will also lead to the creation of up to 30 direct new jobs and an estimated 30 more indirectly and result in the equivalent of carbon dioxide emission savings of 10,000 tonnes per year, Rohlehr said.

The hydroelectric station at the Tumatumari Falls on the Potaro River was the first hydropower station in Guyana. It was constructed by British Guiana Consolidated Goldfields Limited to power two large dredges for gold mining operations in the mid-1950s. It had an installed capacity of 1500kW and used 2 x 750kW Francis turbines. However, following a prolonged workers’ strike, the operations were closed in the early 1960s. It was put back into use in 1976 by the Guyana National Service (GNS) to supply power to its administrative centre and other activities. Up to 1987, one turbine functioned.