Friday, May 3, 2013

Hydro to become most important energy source in Guyana?

Guyana could soon open the door to large hydropower project. Hydropower is one of the most reliable clean energy sources, which unlike solar and wind does not suffer from intermittency issue. The 165 MW hydropower plant should be constructed at Amaila Falls, and has an estimated costs of $840m with China Development Bank lending most of the money.

If this project goes online it will supply more power for Guyana then the country currently needs and will thus help reduce country's need for the expensive foreign oil import.  If everything goes well the construction should start by the end of this year. After approximately 20 years ownership of this plant would pass to the government with construction costs being paid off.

The current reports from government say that no villages will be displaced and little wildlife will be disturbed during the construction. The project is expected to flood less than 21 square miles thus not having major environmental impact.

The opponents of this  projects say that this project will generate expensive electricity, and also say that the hydro electricity may not prove to be the most reliable of energy sources because of the El NiƱo weather pattern that can bring a year-long drough and cause plant to operate well below its capacity. They also argue that the project is still in the dark over feasibility because there are yet no economic feasibility study done on it.

There are other issues that need to be resolved with most important being the finishing of the access road.

The further debates as well as feasibility study will likely decide the outcome of this project. The opposition parties still need to unite with government on this one in order for this project to start with construction this year.