Govt assures private sector of “dramatic reduction” in energy cost


With Guyana on the cusp of massive transformations, the government has reassured the local private sector of creating a macro-economic environment that will be conducive to investments and expansion including reliable and affordable electricity.

This assurance was given by Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, who was at the time delivering the feature address at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI’s) annual awards ceremony on Thursday evening.

According to the Finance Minister, the single biggest impediment to value-added manufacturing and processing in Guyana is the cost of energy – something which the PPP/C administration is working to fix.

“[We are] mobilising the gas resources that we have available to land on the coast and to harness that resource for purposes of electricity generation. That, we anticipate, is to be realised within the next three years or so. When that happens, you can be assured that there will be a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy which will immediately create opportunities as it relates to the value-added processing and production,” he posited.

Moving forward, Dr Singh added that government is also working on a number of other initiatives to address issues relating to the competitiveness in energy.

Among this is the possibility of reviving the Amaila Falls Hydro project, which the Finance Minister noted could have already been generating cheaper power in Guyana had it not been shelved by the previous APNU/AFC regime.

“We’re relooking and revisiting the possibilities of Amaila Falls being realised… Had that project not been frustrated and derailed, Amaila Falls would today have been generating electricity and we would have achieved this long-awaited reduction in the cost of energy,” Minister Singh contended.

An artist’s impression of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project

The Amaila Falls Hydro Project (AFHP) was a brainchild of the previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration, but was shelved soon after the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government took office in 2015. The lack of investors was cited.

PPP has contended that the AFHP could have been generating about 50 per cent more electricity than the entire GPL supply. Indeed, the 165-megawatt project has the potential to eclipse GPL’s current supply of 120 megawatts.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who has responsibility for energy, has however said that the Government intends to complete the AFHP.

In fact, it was reported earlier this month that Fortescue (FMG), an Australian company and a global leader in the iron ore industry, is seeking to explore renewable energy opportunities in Guyana, including in the Amaila Falls project.