Norway helping South Sudan with hydropower

Norway will help South Sudan build a hydropower plant with work expected to start early next year and this has raised the question as to whether there is hope at all that it might be interested in helping Guyana in this arena.

With the collapse of the Sithe Global deal for the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project the Guyana Government has been left with the dilemma of how to move forward with this project.

Guyana already has a forest protection pact with Norway geared towards developing a low carbon economy. Cleaner fuel is an integral part of the low carbon plans. Furthermore, US$80M of Guyana’s equity investment in the Amaila project was earmarked to come from the US$250M potentially available to Georgetown over the life of the project with Norway.

The government here has said very little about how it plans to move ahead with the Amaila project and there has been no indication whether it has entered into discussions with Oslo on how to move ahead with the scheme and whether the US$80M would still be available for hydro power.

Reuters reported last week that the hydro deal raises hopes of ending an era of dark nights at least in the South Sudan capital.

It said that devastated by decades of civil war with Khartoum, South Sudan has no power grid. “Electricity is only for the rich who can afford diesel generators at their villas in the capital, Juba, or business travellers in the city’s expensive hotels.

“The government has made more than $10 billion in oil revenues since a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum, but corruption and inexperience have hampered development since independence in 2011.

“Juba also has no sewage system. Running water in residential buildings and offices comes unfiltered from the Nile, delivered by an army of trucks.

“To kickstart development, Norway will partly fund and oversee construction of a 42-megawatt dam on the White Nile, providing enough electricity at least for Juba.

“Tenders will be awarded in autumn with work to start in early 2014 and end in two years, Western diplomats said. The project will cost around US$160 million, of which South Sudan is supposed to contribute a quarter.

“With risk-averse Western firms largely shunning South Sudan due to its inefficient legal system, bidders for the plant will likely come from Asia, diplomats said. Chinese, Malaysian and Indian firms dominate the oil industry in South Sudan”, Reuters reported.


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