Two-year hydrology risk study on Amaila falls project leaves many questions unanswered- Jagdeo

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The Parliamentary Opposition has taken note of statements made by Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman in relation to a two-year hydrology risk study being conducted on the Amaila falls project, but maintains that there are still many unanswered questions.

Opposition leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Taking into account that studies were conducted on Amaila falls to test the feasibility of making it a hydro power station, Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday stressed that there is limited information on the new study.

The hydrology risk study is slated to be conducted, after which Government will be presented with a report by the end of this year. This is according to Trotman recently during a parliamentary meeting.

“So I would like to know who is doing this study. Who contracted the people to do this study and at what is the cost?” he questioned.

Jagdeo asserted that these are important details that the Government should seek to share with the Opposition especially since it is the first time his party is hearing about this new study.

Additionally, he noted that details of this study comes just months after 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.

“Harmon went on to explain that they couldn’t find an investor and who will give them the money…a lot of extraneous things, like the World Bank is not funding it,” he recalled.

The former President further stated that Harmon’s statement points to his lack of knowledge on the financial model used for the Amaila Falls Hydro project.

Only recently, Minister 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.

The project, which was the brainchild of Jagdeo, formed part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy.

An artist’s impression of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project

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 US$858M Project, citing a lack of national consensus on the part of the Parliamentary opposition.

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