Hydroelectricity is an imperative

An artist’s impression of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Plant

An artist’s impression of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Plant


The Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project (AFHEP) is too important a project for Guyana’s present and future development for us to allow it to die. Times Notebook calls on the president and the government to do all they can to bring back the investors to the project and rejects the position of the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), which refuses to support the project in Parliament.


We see the position of APNU as an example of opposing a project simply, because it’s good for Guyana. We see APNU’s position as anti-development. APNU has placed its own interest ahead of the interest of the people of Guyana.


Times Notebook today calls on the Guyanese people to put aside political consideration and rally behind the government. We call on all organisations that have the interest of Guyana at heart to stand resolutely behind our president as he persuades the investors that APNU stands alone in opposition to Amaila.


As our president tries to keep Amaila from dying because of the position of APNU and the small band of men such as Christopher Ram, Anand Goolsarran, Ramon Gaskin, and Professor Clive Thomas, the rest of us must demonstrate to the world that we are solidly behind the president and the project.


This is one of the biggest projects government and private investors have ever embarked on in Guyana. In any such projects, there will be areas of concern. Times Notebook will never be so irresponsible as to demand no one questions any aspect of the project.


Transparent project


But we also ask anyone if they can recall or name any project in our history or in the history of the Caribbean that has been so transparent, where all information requested has been provided time and again, where the investors have made themselves available to all and sundry for questioning, and where all available documents have been provided.


Further, this project has been the subject matter in Parliament on more than one occasion. Thus, the assertion that information is lacking is absurd. APNU and others have argued that one reason they rejected AFHEP was the fact that the project will add enormously to the debt burden of Guyana.


Isn’t it the People’s National Congress (PNC), now in the form of APNU, that left Guyana with one of the biggest debt burdens in the world? Isn’t it Carl Greenidge who was minister of finance when Guyana was accumulating a debt burden beyond its capacity to repay?




According to APNU and others who have joined the bandwagon, Guyana’s debt will become large and unsustainable. The truth is that Guyana is not borrowing any money for AFHEP. The investment in Amaila is by the private investors themselves. Amaila adds zero to the debt burden. That is why the investors want to ensure that all political parties support the project, because it is the largest investment ever in Guyana by the private sector.


Indeed, the almost 15,000 barrels of fossil fuel per day we use right now can increase to more than 20,000 barrels per day in less than a decade if we don’t have hydroelectricity. This is costing Guyana an enormous amount of foreign exchange – an import bill that is suffocating us.


Amaila allows us to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel and reduce our import bill. Because part of Guyana’s debt burden is caused by a high oil import bill, Amaila, indeed, has the prospect of reducing the debt burden. APNU knows the truth. It’s the same kind of faulty mathematics and recklessness that saw Greenidge leaving Guyana with the highest debt burden in the world.


The private sector will sell energy from AFHEP to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), initially, at about 11 U.S. cents per kilowatt, substantially below the approximately 20 U.S. cents that Guyana is presently paying to generate electricity.


Without hydropower, Guyana is likely to pay about 25 U.S. cents to generate a kilowatt of electricity within five years.  In 20 years’ time, with Amaila, GPL will pay 90 per cent less for electricity than it is paying today. The math is clear – it makes absolute sense to complete Amaila.


On the provision of information, there is no deficit of efforts by government and the investors. On the question of potential electricity cost, the estimates have been provided, as best anyone can project and these estimates show a dramatic reduction of electricity cost. On the subject of Guyana’s debt, we know there is no addition to the national debt burden.


This project is in the national interest. APNU is on the wrong side of the debate. The Guyanese people must rally around government. This is not politics. This is in the interest of every citizen and for the rapid development of Guyana.