Norwegian company picked to review Amaila Falls Hydro-power proposal

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 March 2016, 9:51 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana and Norway have picked a Norwegian company to review the financial model of the proposed Amaila Falls Hydro-power station which has been the subject of long-running political bickering between the government and the opposition.

“A decision was recently made to utilize Norway’s largest consultancy firm ‘Norconsult’ for this review. With over 50 years of international experience in power generation and energy supply engineering, the Ministry of Finance and Cabinet considered it the best option for an objective re-assessment,”  government said in a statement issued through its Information Agency (GINA).

This decision follows up on one taken by the countries in Paris, France, in December 2015 to conduct a review of the project’s current financial model, which the government believes could shackle many generations of Guyanese to debt. Guyana’s Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has said that going ahead with the current financial model inherited from the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration would be “criminal.”

The selection of Norconsult, the Guyana government said, followed a shared assessment of consultant companies to conduct a financial model review of the topical Amaila Falls Project, which has been the subject of much debate in both countries.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has maintained that the existing financial mode, including the cost of construction and rate at which power would be sold by the Guyana Power and Light and re-sold to consumers, would save Guyana billions of dollars annually in fossil fuel sales.

While in opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had strenuously objected to the project, resulting in investors pulling out from the almost US$1 billion project because of a lack of political consensus.

MeanwhileGuyana and Norway are preparing for a visit in 2016, April by a Norwegian delegation comprising members from the Ministry of Climate and Environment and Norway’s Development Agency (NORAD).

The visit is expected to deepen the partnership and collaboration to complete outstanding deliverables of the MoU that the new government inherited. The Guyana team is actively preparing for this eagerly anticipated visit and all stakeholders will be engaged throughout this process.