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Four companies signal interest in new process for Amaila hydro project

Evaluation on the pre-qualification for the four companies wishing to bid on the 165MW Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is still ongoing but should be completed by early next month, Prime Minister Mark Phillips says. 

The Prime Minister, whose ministry is the procuring agency for the project and which on December 29 received tenders from companies that wanted to be pre-qualified, informed that four companies answered Requests for Proposals.

Those companies are 1) Rialma S.A. (Grupo Rialma) from Brazil, 2) China International Water & Elec. Corp, 3) Lindsayca CH4 Guyana Inc, and 4) a group made up of OEC, GE Vernova and Worley.

Lindsayca CH4 Guyana Inc is currently executing an aspect of the Wales gas-to-shore project.

With only the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) financial model to be accepted, the government had issued a new Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Amaila Falls Hydro Project (AFHP) in early December, and stated that pre-qualification is to be determined strictly on experience and commitment to local content. Ezoic

“The Government of Guyana (GOG) invites revised Request for Proposals (RFP) under a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model for the Amaila Falls Hydro Project,” the notice for the RFP which was published in this newspaper had stated.

The notice outlined elements of what the proposals should entail; that the project is one to be added to the gas-to-energy project, which together will provide power generation to the Guyana Power and Light Company. As it relates to transmission, the notice said that the AFHP will integrate and expand the national grid, to include Linden.

When the project was initially conceptualised and was being undertaken by Sithe Global, a subsidiary of Blackstone, the government was prepared to purchase electricity at US10 cents per kilowatt hour since what was being generated cost twice as much.

The PPP/C had said, during its 2020 campaign, that should it return to office, it would revive the project. And in 2021, it advertised for RFPs. Then, the government had asked that proposals submitted by prospective developers be made under both the BOOT and Design-Build-Finance (D-B-F) models. The latter model has now been eliminated.

It was explained then that the call for the RFPs was due to the fact that the Guyana Power and Light’s current Development and Expansion (D&E) Plan for 2021 to 2025, projects that the total capacity required in 2025 would be 465 MW and energy of 2,900 GWH.

According to the RFP, the summary of Scope of Works entails a 165 MW installed hydro dam, plant, and related works; transmission line and structures: 270 KM double-circuit 230 KV from Amaila to Sophia; 230 KV Substations in Linden and Sophia; creation of a 23-square-kilometre storage reservoir; upgrades and completion of roads and bridges to the site (85 kilometres new; 122 kilometres existing); and assumption of all geo-technical risks including guarantees relating to the structure of the reservoir, dam, and transmission towers. Under the BOOT model, it asked that firms state the cost/kWh (and equivalent annual payment) for power delivered to Sophia, Georgetown, on the basis of a 20-year BOOT (period starting from commercial operations date), with all of the costs of the project to commissioning date, being borne by the developer, and the project reverting to the government at the end of the BOOT period, at no cost. All appropriate assumptions including cost of capital, equity, debt, and operating costs should be stated, it added.

The hydro project, previously pegged at US$858.1 million, had been the flagship project of the PPP/C government when it was in office pre-2015. However, the then opposition parties, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), had used their combined one-seat majority to halt the project.

When the APNU+AFC government took office in 2015, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, who was then the opposition leader, had pleaded to continue a conversation on the project and ensure that it was restarted. However, then Minister of State Joseph Harmon made an announcement in October 2017 that the project had been canned. He had told this newspaper that his government was focusing on an energy mix with natural gas as a prime component.

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