Solar, mini hydropower projects in Guyana to complement AFHP, gas-to-shore – Finance Minister
By Guyana Times
Petroleumworld 11 08 2021
While the Government has at least two alternative energy projects in the pipelines that, combined, will supply at least 360 megawatts of power to the grid, it is not neglecting other forms of renewable energy, including solar.
During a recent interview, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh spoke of the solar energy projects that they are working on, as well as various mini hydropower projects that will capitalise on water sources in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
“We currently are doing work on developing mini hydros in a number of other locations. So, we’re looking at locations like Kumu, Moco Moco, with a view of developing hydropower capabilities there. We’re also looking at solar energy. As you know we’re actively working on delivering significant solar energy capability to the national grid.”
“Both from the point of view of electricity generation for sale of power at a large scale, but also even at the household level. As you know, we recently announced a project to deliver 30,000 household level solar energy units,” the Finance Minister said.
Singh therefore noted that beyond the $900 million gas-to-shore project and the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) that was recently awarded by tender to China Railway Group, Government is working on other renewable energy sources.
“Beyond these two larger scale projects, we also have the solar farms we’re working on. We also have the mini hydro we’re working on. We also have the household level solar interventions we’re working on. All part of the much broader effort on the electricity generation side and in particular, the transition to cleaner and more renewable sources.”
Last month, it was announced that funding had been secured from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for renewable energy projects.
According to the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the funding was for the cost of the “Small Hydropower Project”, and some of that money will go towards consultancy services.
In fact, GEA started tendering for consultants, issuing a notice inviting bids from firms for “Design Review and Construction Supervision of two hydropower plants”. One project entails the construction of a new 0.5-megawatt (MW) hydropower plant at Kumu in the Rupununi and the other, the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Moco Moco hydropower facility, to 0.7 MW.
When it comes to the bigger projects, it was announced only recently that Cabinet had granted its no objection for China Railway Group Limited to construct the AFHP project. China Railway is no stranger to Guyana, having been granted the contract for the East Coast Road Expansion project.
The project will be built under the BOOT model (Build Own Operate Transfer), which will see the Guyana Power and Light buying power from the company at no more than US7.7 cents per kilowatt.
According to the Finance Ministry in a statement, the award of the contract follows the publication of a request for proposals by Government in various national newspapers during the period July 25 to August 15, 2021.
Four companies, the Ministry said, submitted proposals, and China Railway Group Limited was identified as the most “capable partner” by the Evaluation Committee after a rigorous evaluation process, following which the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) submitted the relevant recommendation to Cabinet for “no objection”.
The AFHP was first identified in 1976 by the Canadian company “Monenco” during an extensive survey of hydroelectric power potential in Guyana. Various studies have since justified and strongly supported the construction of the AFHP.
The revival of the 165-megawatt Amaila Falls Hydropower Project was one of the promises made by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in its manifesto. The project was initiated under the previous PPP/C Administration but was scrapped by the coalition Administration which had controlled the National Assembly by a one-seat Opposition majority.
The project entails the construction of a 165 MW installed hydro dam, plant and related works, as well as transmission lines and structures from Amaila Falls in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) to Sophia, Greater Georgetown. (G3)