President in ‘talks’ with Opposition Leader to save Amaila Falls Project

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President Donald Ramotar
President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar says that he is in continuous talks with Leader of the main opposition APNU, David Granger pleading for his support on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.

On Friday, the project’s main developer – Sithe Global – withdrew from the project, citing a lack of national consensus on the part of the Parliamentary opposition. Sithe Global invested some US$16M in the project.

In a statement today [Sunday, August 11], President Ramotar stated “even at this late hour, there is a small window of time for our country’s leaders to rise to the occasion, and to make a decision on Amaila that is based on patriotism, not partisanship.”

According to the President, “Early this morning, I spoke with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Granger, and urged him once again to join me in showing support for the Amaila Falls project, for our country’s future development and for the life opportunities of generations of Guyanese. I will try to continue this engagement with Mr. Granger in the hours ahead, and I told him that my door remains open, as it always has been.”

President Ramotar did not go into details of the conversation he had with Mr. Granger.

On Thursday, August 8, the National Assembly passed the legislation relating to the Project, but without the support of the main opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

At a recent consultation at the conference center, President of Sithe Global Brian Kubeck called on the parliamentary opposition to support the project.

However, while the minority opposition – the Alliance for Change voted in favour of the Amaila Bills in the National Assembly, APNU parliamentarians did not.

APNU Leader, David Granger.
APNU Leader, David Granger.

The President noted that the debate about Amaila is not helped by the volume of uninformed speculation that has been visible in recent weeks, despite two opportunities to debate the project in Parliament, and the public availability of information over many months.

“Decisions on matters such as this – which are so important to our country’s future – should be based on facts, and not made as a result of speculation or political partisanship. All our political parties know that they have been equipped with the information they need to reach a decision on Amaila Falls.”

The facts on the project are listed below:

Today, GPL incurs an electricity generating cost of US$19c per kw/h.  With Amaila Falls Hydro, GPL’s cost of electricity can be dramatically reduced, to:

•          11c per kw/h in the first twelve years, 40% less than today

•          5.6c per kw/h in the next eight years, 71% less than today

•          1.8 c per kw/h for the following eighty years, 91% less than today

As a result, the Amaila project can:

•          Reduce electricity bills for Guyanese consumers and businesses – average tariffs for consumers will come down by at least 20% within two years of commercial operation of the hydro

•          Eliminate the need for Guyanese taxpayers to subsidise GPL. In 2012, the subsidy cost taxpayers over 6 billion dollars. This will no longer be needed, and the money can be invested in other important national priorities, such as roads, schools and hospitals

•          Greatly reduce Guyana’s dependence on foreign oil, and insulate the economy from the risk of rising oil prices. Unlike oil, the price of Amaila’s electricity will go down over the next twenty years.

•          Reduce black-outs.  To avoid outages, the plant has:

–           Four individual units and full redundancy in the auxiliary systems

–           Two transmission lines, each capable of transmitting 100% of the plant’s output

•          Transform Guyana’s electricity sector from being fully oil-dependent to one built on clean, renewable energy. As the flagship of the Low Carbon Development Strategy, Amaila will enable reductions in Guyana’s greenhouse gases from electricity generation by approximately 90%

•          Support business growth in the processing and manufacturing industries, and create new jobs

•          Send a positive message to large global investors that Guyana is open for investment and set a new standard for the size of investment possible in Guyana

•          Be constructed without any debt being incurred by the citizens of Guyana. The plant will be fully paid for by the sale of electricity – at prices far cheaper than today

•          Be fully owned by the people of Guyana twenty years after operations begin

•          Last for at least a hundred years – providing affordable, reliable energy for generations to come

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