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overflowing potential

Amaila Hydropower: Largest Public Works Project in Guyanese History

T

he $835 million hydroelectric facility planned for western Guyana ranks as the country’s largest public works project in its history — and one that could, for the first time since Guyana’s independence, give the South American nation a stable and affordable supply of electricity.

“For decades, Guyana has talked about developing our hydroelectric potential, and it was even acceptable to talk about harnessing Kaieteur Falls in the 1960s, but these ideas were never realized,” said Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, whose portfolio also includes the energy sector. “In the mid-1970s, the United Nations reviewed a number of sites, and about six locations including Amaila were thought to have the most potential,” he said. The Amaila site was eventually chosen. As

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Guyanese government officials meet with Sithe Global, which is leading development of the Amaila Hydropower Project. From clockwise left, Guyanese President Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar, Finance Minister Ashni Singh, and CEO of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd. (NICIL) Winston Brassington talk with Senior Vice President of Development at Sithe Global James McGowan, Sithe Global Chairman and CEO Bruce Wrobel, and Brian Kubeck, also a senior vice president of development.

currently envisioned, the Amaila Hydropower Project will include not only the 165 MW (megawatt) hydroelectric facility itself but also a 270-kilometer high-voltage transmission line and new substations at Linden and near Georgetown, the capital. Development of the project is led by Sithe Global, which is majority owned by funds managed by Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms as well as an experienced and active investor in the energy and natural resources sector. The Sithe Global management team has successfully developed or acquired more than 70 power projects in numerous countries representing more than 18,000 MW of generating capacity. Sithe Global’s development effort is supported by MWH Global, a preeminent global hydro engineering firm, and Conservation International, an internationally respected NGO focused on biodiversity conservation and offset design as well Sponsored Report

as implementation of mitigation strategies for the project. Debt financing for the project will come from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and China Development Bank. “We’re putting in some equity too,” said Hinds of the Guyanese government. “This would be, by far, the largest single project in Guyanese history.” The prime minister added: “We are hoping that all the arrangements will be closed by the second half of this year, and that ground will be broken soon. Power should be available by early 2017.” Senior Vice President for Development at Sithe Global Brian Kubeck said that similar to Sithe Global’s 250 MW Bujagali project in Uganda, which promoted economic development by eliminating load shedding in the country, the benefits of Amaila range from combating climate change to saving Guyana tens of millions of dollars each year. “The scale of benefits that Amaila would bring to Guyana has the potential to be transformative

April • May 2013


Guyana