The Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project (AFHEP)
Holdings Inc. is involved in this project as the developer
to design, build, own and operate a hydroelectric plant in
project will generate electricity for the national grid
(Guyana Power & Light) with future expansion capacity to
power major industrial growth projects within the country.
Current demands also exist in the bauxite and gold mining
Fig.1 - Location
Guyana is located on the northeastern coast of South America
between latitudes of 1° and 8° (Fig. 1). Guyana has 83,000
square miles (215,000 km2) putting it at a
comparable size with Great Britain or the state of
Minnesota. If is bordered to the east by Suriname, to the
south and west by Brazil and to the west by Venezuela. If
faces out to the Caribbean Sea and, as a matter of fact, it
is considered to be much more of a Caricom (Caribbean
Community) country than a South American country.
city of Guyana is Georgetown and it is located on the
Atlantic/ Caribbean coast, at a latitude of 7° north
of the Equator. The narrow coastal belt has a moderate
climate (75° to 85°) with two wet seasons. Inland there are
tropical forests and savannas. The highest point is Mt.
Roraima at 9,030 feet located on the northwestern boarder
with Brazil and Venezuela.
is tropical with the overall annual rainfall in excess of 80
inches. The mean annual rainfall in the project area
exceeds 150 inches! [Read
more on Guyana]
Project Location and Access
Fig.2 - Project Layout
site is located on the Kuribrong River, a tributary of the
Potaro River in west central Guyana (see map). The nearest
point of access is the airstrip at Kaieteur Falls on the
Potaro River, approximately 15 miles to the south. An
overland trail exists from Kaieteur to Amaila. Access is
also provided over land by an all-weather road through
Tumatumari on the Potaro River and on to Mahdia and
Kangaruma. River access along the Potaro-Kuribrong Rivers
to the foot of Amaila Falls involves several portages around
rapids and waterfalls. The road from Tumatumari was
recently extended to Mahdia/Kangaruma that brings you closer
to the site but approximately 30 miles of additional roads
will need to be built to the top of Amaila Falls.
is based on an initial study that was carried out between
1974-1976 in Guyana to explore the hydroelectric potential
in the country under a grant from the United Nations. The
Hydroelectric Power Survey (the Survey) was conducted by
Montreal Engineering over a two-year period. A number of
sites were identified and these were further refined to
three “most promising” sites. Further studies by the
developer in 1997- 2001 related to the demand for power, the
economics, environmental, ecological and political impacts
of developing each of these sites has led to Amaila as the
location of choice.
Synergy identified a dire need for electrical power
generation in Guyana and sought to fill this need by
harnessing the hydro potential of the country. After a
review of the three most promising sites identified in the
Montreal Engineering study and reviewing the current demand
for power in the country, the Amaila site was surveyed from
the air and videotaped. The overland road from Georgetown
to Mahdia (within 30 miles of this site) was also driven to
review the geology and geography of the surrounding area.
design was conceptualized by Synergy Holdings Inc, in
conjunction with Kleinschmidt & Associates
(hydro-engineering firm) in 1997. This design was partially
based on the information in the Montreal Engineering
pre-feasibility study of Amaila and the data gathered from
the above field trips.
looked specifically at reducing the environmental impact and
cost of the project while incorporating the current
generation equipment that exists on the grid. In short, the
KA study customized the initial, detailed engineering study
done by Montreal Engineering to meet the current demand for
power and to reduce the environmental impact of the project.
Amaila design with phased development (100 MW expandable to
165 MW) was decided on. This new design meets the current
need for power in Guyana and offers duplicity to ensure
reliability of our supply to the grid.
Synergy Holdings Inc. joint-ventured with Harza Engineering
Company (now called MW Harza Global) to fund and perform a
detailed feasibility study and Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA) for the 1st Phase of this
reduced AFHEP project (Phase I). The developers agreed to
review the expandability of the project at least to Phase
II. A loan form the US Trade Development Agency (US TDA) was
applied for and received to cover approximately 50% of the
cost of this feasibility study with the developers paying
1999 and 2001, A full feasibility study and EIA was carried
out on site including surveying, drilling in excess of 400
meters, and several site visits by Harza engineers to
evaluate the drill cores and the physical characteristics of
the site and to install river gauging equipment downstream
of the falls. A man-camp on site and an access road crew in
excess of 50 personnel worked on this project for several
months. Drilling equipment were flown in by helicopter,
supplies came in by river and the ATV access road.
Following the on-site investigations and mapping several
alternate designs were looked at and the developers chose a
final design that offered the lowest construction cost while
maintaining the expandability of the project.
Project Design & Description
storage dam site would be located near the top of Amaila
Falls and would impound the waters of both the Kuribrong and
Amaila Rivers. The area upstream of the falls is flat,
forested and with bedrock near the surface. There are no
inhabitants to be relocated or other known environmental
drops from the escarpment over Amaila Falls vertically
approximately 200 feet, and continues in a series of rapids
and falls for almost two miles before reaching placid water
at an elevation of 175 feet. The total drop is about
1,200 feet. During the course of the falls the river
changes direction from east to north, thus helping to
shorten the water conduit system for the power development.
lower elevations the walls of the escarpment are flatter but
these steepen sharply with elevation until the valley walls
are nearly vertical at the top. The Amaila Falls is not a
spectacularly scenic vista (as compared with Kaieteur
Falls), and as such it is not considered a potential tourist
area of the reservoir would be approximately 8.8 square
miles at full supply level of 1,400 feet and is heavily
forested. The reservoir would be cleared for one-half mile
upstream of the dam. The reservoir would provide a change
from the prevailing green of the jungle and with the access
roads etc. it would provide a body of water useable for
recreation (e.g. fishing, boating) and transportation.
There is no
technical or environmental reason why Amaila Falls
Hydroelectric Project (AFHEP) should not be built. The
huge, long term savings in foreign exchange and the
reduction of carbon emissions from the current diesel
generators are powerful additional economic and
environmental reasons why this project needs to be
Interim Development Period
the feasibility study works described above, the Project
attracted equity investors and multi-lateral Banks to
finance the construction of Phase I of AFHEP. A Power
Purchase Agreement (PPA) could not be finalized with the
then privatized utility in Guyana- GPL. During this period
(2002- 2004) additional work on the transmission line,
reliability studies and work on the financial models
continued. The hydro-power license was extended by the
Government to allow development work on the financial
package to continue.
rising price of oil, AFHEP became a necessity for Guyana to
have since the country was spending approximately 25% of its
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to purchase fuel and most of
this was going to fossil fuelled electrical generation
equipment. In mid-2005, serious talks were restarted between
Synergy, GPL (which had reverted back to government
ownership) and the government of Guyana in an attempt to
finally put this project on a fast track development
schedule. By this time additional generation was required by
GPL to meet increased demand for power and the number of
self-generators in the country was increasing.
development phase of the project had moved away form its
technical emphasis and the focus was more on the financial
engineering and commercial aspects of the deal, Synergy
joint ventured with MaxPower International and Cj
Independent to put together the financial package that will
work for the Project. MaxPower and Cj Independent has
successfully developed and financed a number of power
projects in many countries of the world and they were
familiar with the requirements of the world financial
markets to make this project bankable.
series of meetings with Government, an MOU was signed
between the developers and Government on 23rd May
2006 outlining their agreement to proceed with the
development of AFHEP. The schedule that was agreed upon has
the start of construction of AFHEP in August 2007 with
commercial operation on the last quarter 2010. In the
interim, Synergy and its partners agreed to supply a thermal
power plant of 25 MW (to be operational in March 2007) as a
way to meet GPL’s demand for power until the hydro-power
plant can be built. The hydro project will assimilate the
thermal plant upon its commissioning and the 25 MW thermal
power plant will most likely operate in a back-up capacity
Posted By Staff On September 25, 2008 @ 5:28 am In
Hydro-power scheme draws closer
By Mark Ramotar
24th July 2006
Presidential Press Conference- Tower Hotel, Guyana
DREAM CLOSER: President of Synergy Holdings Inc. Mr.
Makeshwar Fip Motilall, addressing the hydro-power
forum yesterday. Seated at the head table from left
are Head of the Privatisation Unit, Mr. Winston
Brassington, President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime
Minister Sam Hinds and CEO of Guyana Power and Light
Inc. Mr. Bharat Dindyal.
Government of Guyana, Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) and
U.S.-based Synergy Holdings Inc., are moving closer to
realising a “national aspiration” which entails development
of a multi-billion-dollar, 100 MW hydro-power station at
development of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, located
in the West Central interior of Guyana, is estimated to cost
more than US$300M.
status of the project, which has been on the cards for
several years and which faced several stumbling blocks, and
the vision of hydro-power for the future were outlined by
President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and
President of Synergy Holdings Inc. Mr. Fip Motilall at a
forum yesterday afternoon at the Hotel Tower in Georgetown
noted that financial closing and ground breaking are
targeted for August 1, 2007 while commercial operation is
scheduled to begin by December 15, 2010.
entails the installation of transmission lines from Amaila
Falls to the Sophia sub-station in Georgetown and Prime
Minister Hinds said the price for electrical energy
delivered at Sophia is capped at 7.5 US cents per kWh
Jagdeo and Prime Minister Hinds both made it clear that the
Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Government, GPL
and Synergy in May this year can be terminated by the
Government and GPL before August 1 next year if the
estimated delivered price comes in greater than the target
of 7.5 US cents/kWh.
last dozen years, potential developers have been pursuing
interests in five different potential hydro-power sites in
noted that Synergy Inc. headed by Motilall – a Guyanese-born
living in the U.S., began working with a number of North
American partners as early as 1996, to pursue a hydropower
development at Amaila Falls to supply the local electricity
committed to accepting the lowest cost financing for the
project and Motilall said the bid documents are almost
completed and will be going out to tender shortly.
indicated that when the need develops, the Amaila Falls
Hydropower plant can be upgraded to about 165 MW in a second
Jagdeo, in his remarks at yesterday’s forum, noted that the
development of Guyana’s hydro-power potential has been a
“long national aspiration”. He said past attempts to develop
the country’s vast hydro-power resources have been met with
the Amaila Falls hydro-power project is the most advanced
hydro-power project... this project will also provide
affordable reliable energy that will act as a springboard
for investment and development in many areas,” the President
told those gathered at the forum.
He was also
optimistic that the availability of reliable and affordable
electrical energy will “provide the impetus for exponential
growth in this great country”.
potential for hydro-power in Guyana is estimated to be in
the region of 7,000 MW, representing a major opportunity for
Guyana, both as a primary source of power for domestic
consumption and as a place for the development of large
scale industries which require significant electricity
capacities such as aluminum smelters and the production of
hydrogen based fuels.
noted that hydro-power – renewable energy produced from
water – has great potential in Guyana with more than 67
possible hydro sites in the country.
“Hydro-power development in Guyana has always been hindered
by the high initial cost associated with the construction of
the power stations and the transmission facilities,” the
Guyanese Head of State said, adding that the government is
mindful of the many benefits that flow with hydro-power.
that Guyana, like many other nations, continue to battle the
global problem of increasing oil prices, the effects of
which affect every stratum of society and threatens progress
and economic development.
for diesel has skyrocketed from US$35 per barrel in 2003 to
US$91 per barrel in 2006, President Jagdeo said. Noting that
at present, petroleum products form the primary source of
energy in Guyana, he recalled that in 1994, petroleum
imports accounted for some 16% of Guyana’s Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) and this figure escalated to 25% of GDP in
projections suggest that this trend will continue as the
price for fuel on the world market continues to rise,
coupled with the fact that petroleum resources are being
depleted. President Jagdeo said this phenomenon presents a
significant challenge for Guyana.
dependence for imported petroleum means that the country is
vulnerable to international oil prices and diversification
of energy sources is required to reduce this vulnerability,”
the President contended.
to him, the Government is already actively encouraging major
alternative energy projects in Guyana.
regard, he alluded to the Skeldon sugar estate co-generation
plan, which when it comes on stream, is expected to add at
least 10 MW of power to the national grid by 2008.
Discussions are also ongoing between GPL and the developers
of the Hope Beach Wind Farm which is expected to produce an
additional 4 MW of power before the end of 2007, President
those who also spoke at yesterday’s forum were Chief
Executive Officer of GPL, Mr. Bharat Dindyal and Motilall.