Sithe Global comments on Amaila hydro project
For decades the people of Guyana have longed to develop their own hydropower potential and in turn produce a less costly, more reliable supply of electricity. With more dependable, affordable electricity, everyday-life will be easier and economic development bolstered.
The Amaila project consists of a hydropower dam, built at the junction of the Amaila and Kuribrong rivers, capable of generating 154MW.
The electricity generated by specially-designed and purpose-built turbines would be delivered to substations in Linden and Georgetown by a new 278 km transmission line.
The entire project will take about three and half years to build, and will be financed by private equity and public multilateral financing institutions.
The total cost of the dam, powerhouse, transmission line, and substations, estimated at US$650 million (including an estimated US$190 million for the transmission line and other supporting infrastructure), will be the largest private investment in Guyana’s history. Sithe Global has already spent in excess of US$5 million on the development of this project and expects to ultimately contribute over US$150 million of equity.
The Amaila Hydropower project can provide Guyana with a long-term, clean and sustainable source of electricity. It would largely free Guyana from imported oil for electricity generation and will lower carbon emissions and cut pollution.
And for the people of Guyana – residences, businesses and industry – it would lower the prices they pay for electricity, while providing them with a reliable and dependable supply.
Hydropower dams are not small undertakings. It takes considerable capital resources, experience and technical expertise to construct and operate a successful hydroelectric project and transmission line. Sithe Global’s core management team has successfully led the development or acquisition of over 50 power plants comprising over 15,000 MWs globally.
Since combining forces with the Blackstone group in 2005, Sithe Global has raised nearly US$3 billion in capital to finance three greenfield projects totaling 1,725 MWs, including the 250MW Bujagali hydroelectric project in Uganda, which will effectively double that country’s generation capacity.
Our environmental and social standards have been certified by our partners including multilateral lenders, such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and other institutions well-known to have the world’s most exacting environmental, social and safety standards.
We are also working to develop strong partnerships with local non-governmental organisations to ensure that the civil society of Guyana has the opportunity to help shape the project.
Building a hydropower project requires care, experience and precision. Doing just the minimum isn’t enough here. That is why Sithe has chosen to update the previous Environmental Impact Assessment.
We have hired internationally recognised environmental advisors who are completing their environmental and social baseline surveys next month.
We are committed to bringing the Amaila Hydropower project to successful completion and operation, despite the challenges posed by its remote location.
For this reason, we welcome the Government of Guyana’s commitment to build a road to the site, the critical first step to developing Guyana’s energy independence.
The cost of this road will be part of the Government’s equity in the project. But once Amaila is built, the people of Guyana will have reliable, affordable electricity, and a critical resource to power their economy.
Twenty years after its completion, Amaila will transfer from private ownership and become property of the Guyanese government, at no additional cost.
Sithe Global strives to be a leader in the world at implementing large scale, socially responsible power generation projects. Our successful experiences completing challenging projects in remote locations around the world are directly applicable to Amaila.
We believe that developing energy projects with a major economic impact while mitigating the ecological footprint is the key to sustainable development.
Our goal is to start construction in early 2011, once the access road is completed and debt financing has been obtained. We will share information as the project progresses.
With our proven track record of building successful power generation projects, we know what it takes to deliver.
What is at stake here is more than the Amaila project. It is the chance for Guyana to control its own energy future by having its own source of clean, reliable electricity, lowering its dependence on imported oil, and decreasing its carbon footprint.
And it offers Guyanese the opportunity to live with reliable electricity, as they build a better future.
Sithe Global, Project manager,
Amaila Hydropower Project