Tumatumari hydro project yet to get financial closure
Renewable energy…as hydro projects dominate Cabinet talksWith renewable energy being before Cabinet for discussion, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson on Friday provided updates on a number of multi-million-dollar hydro and solar- power projects that had seemingly been gathering dust.One such project is the Hope Wind Farm, facing criticism centred on the actual investor – proprietor of the International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA), Lloyd Singh, who had acquired and built the headquarters of the Alliance for Change (AFC).According to Patterson, there have been some technical issues which had to be ironed out, such as the size of the development. He has, however, reported that there has been progress on that front, and they are in the process of finalising the power purchase agreement.“The time frame is two years. We have a draft head of agreement that’s under negotiation, as well as the grid requirements are being reviewed by the developer. They have made significant progress between both parties,” Patterson related.“The last outstanding issue as of last week was the size and design of the substation. Should that be agreed by GPL, then we go on to the final stage, which is the heads of agreement and the power purchase agreement.”Patterson also spoke of a US$3.8 million solar farm funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, which will be constructed at Bartica. According to the Minister, this will be completed by the end of 2018.Tumatumari hydro projectMeanwhile, the update on the Tumatumari hydro project in Region Eight is that the private developer has been given a deadline to reach financial closure with its investors; that is, when all agreements have been signed and conditions met in order to allow the dispensing of funds.Patterson noted that if the developer, in this case Tumatumari Hydro Inc, proves unable to meet the July month-end deadline set by the state for financial closure, Government would take over the project.When this newspaper contacted residents at Tumatumari on Friday, they reported that representatives from the Tumatumari Hydro Inc had met with them, indicating that they were awaiting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval before they can move forward.According to the residents, Tumatumari Hydro Inc informed them that the approval was due in May 2018.Additionally, the residents were told that once the EPA gives clearance, works would commence in August. Kato hydropower project The update on the Kato hydropower project is a more positive one. According to Patterson, funding has been secured for the US$2 million project, and work will commence when weather permits.He also spoke of securing funding from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for Photo Voltaic (PV) farms at Port Kaituma (US$1.8 million), Kwakwani (US$2.6 million) and Matthews Ridge (US$2 million).TargetsPatterson ended with a breakdown of all the Photo Voltaic solar systems Government has managed to install on Government buildings. He referred to President Granger’s visit to India to attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Conference and Solar Summit in March. He said that now that Guyana is a member of this alliance, a line of credit of approximately US$15 million will be available to Guyana. While it has not been allocated as yet, Patterson noted that the idea is to provide funding towards utility scale energy for indigenous villages to the tune of four megawatts.He revealed that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs and the Ministry of Communities will identify these villages. All of this, according to Patterson, culminates in certain targets the Government is trying to meet in renewable energy installation.“So, by the end of 2018, we would have installed about five megawatts of renewable energy. And that’s a commendable feat coming from 2015 with zero,” Patterson boated. “And then, by the end of 2020, when all these projects would have been completed, there would be 29 or 30 megawatts.“So we’re well on our way to achieving our target of trying to become as 100 per cent renewable energy (powered) as close as possible. So we have made progress, and we’re just about four or five per cent (completed) at the end of 2018, and we’ll triple that by the end of 2020,” Patterson boasted.