Canadian firms want to help Guyana deliver major hydropower project

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Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman, has confirmed that companies from his homeland are interested in sharing their expertise for Guyana to realise its landmark Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP).

Berman said these interests have been channelled through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) which has held discussions with the Guyana government on the project following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April 2022.

Founded in 1946, CCC is a Canadian federal Crown corporation mandated to facilitate international trade on behalf of Canadian industry, particularly with governments of foreign countries.

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The possibility of a Canadian partnership on the project is already seen as an ideal fit since Canada is the fourth-largest hydroelectricity generator in the world. It possesses a formidable suite of more than 500 clean energy assets. Water power also accounts for over 60% of the total electricity generated in Canada, making it the largest source of electricity in the country.

Speaking with members of the media on Monday, Berman said, “Canada is looking at a number of infrastructure projects. As you know, one of them is Amaila Falls…There are a number of companies that have significant experience working in this field. So, what we can do is advise them and the companies will need to make a decision, but there is interest.”

Berman was keen to note that the April-signed MoU with CCC is going to be critical in helping to advance several interests, adding that it is a benefit for Guyana since it offers a government-to-government guarantee. “It is an ongoing process but let’s see what happens in the next few weeks. No matter what, the Guyana government would be involved every step of the way,” the High Commissioner stated.

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Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had said back in June that government will “definitely have to revise timelines” for the delivery of its major hydropower project at the remote Amaila Falls. After six months of negotiations with the contractor, China Railway Group Limited (CRGL), he had said no consensus could be reached on the financial model for the project.

Guyana may retender for the project since the company informed the government that it has been unable to source financing under the initially agreed-to Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model. Dr. Jagdeo said the company had instead proposed the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model, where government is the sole financier. The Vice President indicated that this is not an option.

In 2020, Guyana Prime Minister, retired Brigadier Mark Phillips had placed the cost of the 165 Megawatts (MW) project at US$840 million. Inflation could push the cost higher.


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