Amaila Falls Hydropower station on front-burner again

Last Updated on Thursday, 5 October 2023, 20:20 by Denis Chabrol

The location of the proposed Amaila Falls Hydro-power station.

More than one year after China Railway First Group backed out of plans to build the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity Plant (AFHP), government on Thursday announced that would in another two weeks issue a public request for proposals due to increased international interest in the project.

“Now, I think there is a large number of people approaching us and the best way to do this is through a public process – a request for proposal, a bid process,” Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference.

He said companies from Brazil, Austria and North Korea.

With demand for electricity already growing and set to increase further by at least 15 megawatts when several hotels are constructed, Mr Jagdeo said new information about projected consumption would form part of the fresh request for proposals.

“What they have to do is update the data from the last request for proposals and there are some elements like the change in demand and all of that. But we had most of the documents from the past already,” he added.

Mr Jagdeo forecast that the new 300 megawatts of electricity to be supplied by the natural gas-fired power plant “will go quickly” and government might have to plan for another 150 megawatts “as soon as we complete this one.”

The installation of a new transmission and distribution system, including sub-stations and a control centre, he said, were part of a major overhaul of the electricity sector.

The AFHP project has for more than 15 years been pegged at 165 megawatts.

In April 2022, negotiations between China Railway First Group, which had been the preferred bidder, and the Guyana government had collapsed after that Chinese state-owned company had said it could not build the US$700 million hydroelectricity station  under a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) financing model.

China Railway had wanted the Guyana government to agree to finance the project and that company would have been the Engineering Procurement and Construction contractor. However, government had said that could have happened only if a new Request for Proposals was done.

China Railway had been evaluated by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) as the most responsive bidder with an offer to build the AFHP out of its own pocket, operate the facility and sell Guyana Power and Light (GPL) electricity at 7.7 US cents per kilowatt hour.