Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has taken Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson to task over recent statements he made with regards to the Government achieving its set renewable energy goals by the end of 2018.
Patterson, who was providing updates on a number of multi-million-dollar hydro and solar- power projects that had seemingly been gathering dust, posited, among other things, that “by the end of 2018, we would have installed about five megawatts of renewable energy. And that’s a commendable feat coming from 2015 with zero.”
While Patterson has made that commitment, Jagdeo has expressed a different opinion.
“Pure nonsense. Total nonsense. It’s a lie,” the former President told media operatives on Thursday.
Jagdeo asserted that with there being only six months left for the end of 2018, the question remains where the proposed 5 megawatts of power will be sourced from.
He also pointed out that the only renewable energy project that is ongoing is located in Mabaruma, highlighting that this is less than half a megawatt.
Jagdeo went on to say that it is not a case where the people will get free electricity, as it is going to be sourced from elsewhere.
“I’m afraid that two,three years down the line, those systems will go down,” he also expressed.
Moreover, the Opposition Leader argued that the Amaila Falls Hydro Project is a lost opportunity for Guyanese to experience clean and cheap electricity.
He maintains that the project remains the best for Guyana and will only result in huge benefits to the people and the local economy.
The coalition Administration had discontinued the project when it assumed office in 2015 but as of recent has been speaking about plans of possibly restarting it.
Only recently, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman affirmed that the project is actually a renewable energy option for Government, but says funding is an issue.
Trotman was at the time answering questions before the Natural Resources Committee. Asked about the conflicting statements on hydro, he denied that the project was ever off the table.
However, just months prior State Minister, Joseph Harmon was quoted in the press saying that the hydro project- which was initiated under the People’s Progressive Party- has been canned.
The project, which was the brainchild of Jagdeo, formed part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy.
The independent, facts-based assessment of the Amaila Falls Hydropower project in Guyana, which was done by an independent Norway-based engineering and design consultancy firm, Norconsult AS, found that the project is the only realistic path for Guyana to achieve greater levels of renewable energy.
It was outlined that the Amaila Falls could have been almost operational by now and consumers could have been close to seeing the end to expensive and unreliable electricity.
The project, which would have been the largest Foreign Direct Investment in the country’s history, had the potential to reintegrate the country with the global capital markets for the first time in over 40 years.
The incumbent Administration when in Opposition was vehemently against the project, even withholding support from the National Assembly in 2013 for legislation pertaining to the project.
The major investor, Sithe Global subsequently pulled out from the then US$858M project, citing a lack of national consensus on the part of the Parliamentary opposition.