Vice President touts Norway’s endorsement of Amaila Falls Hydropower Project

Amid renewed public debate on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP), Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, MP, has noted at multiple public engagements that the project has the backing of the Norwegian Government.

Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment and its International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) have supported Guyana’s rainforest conservation efforts for more than a decade. Norway had also indicated support for Guyana’s planned energy transition, as indicated by its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, MP

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) had commissioned a firm called Norconsult to conduct a review of the Amaila Falls project, and the 2016 report advocated for the AFHP as a project critical for Guyana’s energy transition.

“The only realistic path for Guyana towards an emission free electricity sector is by developing its hydropower potential. The fastest way forward is to maintain AFHP as the first major step for substituting its current oil-fired generation,” the Norway-commissioned report stated.

It was the David Granger administration that agreed on Guyana’s behalf for Norconsult to conduct the review. But despite the urgency of the report on AFHP, the previous administration did not accede.

The two parties which constituted the parliamentary opposition prior to 2015 – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for Change (AFC) – had already vehemently opposed the project proposed by the pre-2015 People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government.

Amaila Falls, Region 8

The former administration also did not embark on any major energy projects to fulfill its promise to have Guyana move to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

On the other hand, the President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led Government has decided to pursue the AFHP to supply Guyana with 165 megawatts (MW) of new power.

In July, the Office of the Prime Minister revealed in a notice that Government is seeking a partner to develop the project, which Government hopes will achieve construction startup in 2022.

The administration is also pursuing the Gas-to-Energy project, to supply 250 MW of new power, with natural gas from the Liza Phase One offshore project.

Both projects, expected to be operationalised before the current term ends in 2025, will drastically lower Guyana’s emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere, and cut the cost of power to the Guyanese public by 50 per cent.