Sithe Global pulls backing from Amaila Falls hydropower project

An American investor has withdrawn its support from the 165-MW Amaila Falls hydroelectric project, citing Guyana’s inability to reach consensus on a number of key legislative arrangements needed for the plant’s development.

New York-based Sithe Global signed an agreement with the China Railway First Group (CRFG) for the plant’s construction in September 2012, and has since invested at least US$16 million in preparatory work, sources report.

Current disagreements stem largely from disputes in the Guyanese parliament about how to finance Amaila Falls, though President Donald Ramotar issued a release urging the opposition to reconsider its support for the project.

“Decisions on matters such as this, which are so important to our country’s future, should be based on facts and not made as a result of speculation or political partisanship,” Ramotar said in a release. “All our political parties know that they have been equipped with the information they need to reach a decision on Amaila Falls.”

According to Ramotar, Guyana’s cost of electricity will decrease at least 20% within two years of the plant beginning commercial operation while also significantly decreasing the country’s dependence on imported oil.

Sithe Global has said it would likely resume its support of the project, should the government reach an agreement in support of its development.

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