Jul 31, 2013 News Comments Off on Amaila will be outdated by 2019
– Professor Clive Thomas
By Abena Rockcliffe
Economist Professor Clive Thomas has asserted that the “troubled” Amaila Falls Hydro Project will become outdated in just five years.
Despite a cost of at least US$840M, the largest undertaking in the country’s history, it is projected that within the next few years, other possibilities will have to be explored to generate electricity.
Professor Thomas, who is one of Guyana’s more recognized economists, didn’t dispel the government’s projection that the venture will run for some 75 years. He, however, pronounced that the project merely has the ability to service the electricity needs of Guyana for less than a quarter of its projected life span.
The economist noted that looking at the Guyana Power Light Inc. (GPL) medium term, the Amaila project is simply inadequate. He referred to GPL’s declared intent to keep 50 megawatts (MW) of its present capacity going after the Amaila Falls project comes on stream.
Thomas said that indeed GPL’s plans project that 88 percent of its electricity supply will come from Amaila in 2017, but opined that by 2019, more than the promised 165 megawatts will be needed.
The Professor told Kaieteur News, “It (Amaila) has a shelf life up to 2019; it will be working but the supply will be less than what we need. It will be inadequate even if it is working at its full capacity.”
According to Thomas, “these” circumstances have prompted GPL to go on record with the following concern: “There is no expansion plan contemplated for the Amaila project, nor has it been technically planned for expansion or phasing purposes.
Thomas said that what turned the project into such a “disaster” is the fact that it is now being presented as a “stand alone” project. He said that was never what the Amaila Falls project was introduced as; it was supposed to be a “multi stage” one.
The economist said that consultancy evaluations of the project prepared for the government have also queried whether or not the project is being designed as a multi-stage hydropower expansion programme.
Thomas said that Goodland (a consultancy) asked rhetorically whether the project is intended to be “The first stage (with) two further stages for a final emerging output of 1,060 for all these phases together.”
Professor Thomas said that the consultant went on to propose that if the above holds true then the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s intended environmental and social study should cover the final project and not only Amaila.
Thomas said that the multi stage project which was supposed to have been expanded along the Mazaruni River would have generated up to 3000 megawatts. “But the government opted for a smaller project.”
Thomas said that the project cost would have gone up, but the unit cost would have gone in the other direction, hence a less expensive facility.
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