US$3.9M Kumu hydropower plant to last 30 years

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Kumu Falls

The proposed 1.5-megawatt (MW) hydropower plant at the Kumu River in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), is expected to last 30 years, once a rigid maintenance programme is employed.

This will allow the plant, together with the 0.7 MW Moco Moco hydropower plant, to provide clean energy to residents of Lethem and surrounding villages.

It will generate 9,700 MWh annually, and is expected to provide employment to about 10 persons on a permanent basis during operation.

According to a non-technical summary from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US$3.9 million project is a run-of-the-river plant which is technically and economically feasible.

Key considerations in determining the feasibility of this project were the current cost of power using diesel, at US$0.49 per kwH. The annual production costs stand at US$2.45 million per year. After government subsidies of US$500,000 a year, the power will be sold at US$0.33-0.40 per kwH.

The Kumu plant will cut the cost of power in half, and is expected to operate at a profit of about US$3 million per year.

The Hinterland Electrification Company Inc. (HECI) will implement actions to prevent, reduce or mitigate any possible negative impacts of the project on the environment. The EPA has outlined the project’s key impacts and mitigation measures.

The implementing agency, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is executing the project under the Hinterland Electrification programme.

The Kumu hydropower plant, along with the US$2.2 million Moco Moco hydropower plant, are being pursued with assistance from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

The plants form part of the PPP/C Government’s comprehensive energy sector reform plan.

The energy mix, over the next decade, will face an overhaul of renewable energy sources and natural gas.

The government intends to cut the cost of power in half and significantly reduce emissions associated with electricity.