Under mounting criticism over power failures, GPL yesterday said that four 1.7 MW generators are to be purchased – three for Anna Regina and one for Bartica – and it advised that maintenance on November 6 can see blackouts in parts of Georgetown, the East Coast and East Bank for as long as 10 hours.
While Georgetown has suffered interruptions from trips in the system, Bartica and Anna Regina have endured long outages because their multiple generators broke down suddenly. The Bartica and Anna Regina stations are managed exclusively by Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and their condition will underline concerns about the likely ending of a management contract with Finnish company Wartsila for major power stations in favour of local expertise.
In its statement yesterday, GPL said that during October a shortfall in generating capacity at the Bartica, Anna Regina, and Fairfield generation facilities resulted in periodic load shedding. It said that the generating sets are very old and their “replacements were neglected over the years”. It didn’t say who was responsible for this neglect.
As it relates to Bartica, GPL said that two of the three generating units were unavailable “as a result of unexpected mechanical failures”.
At present, two generating units are in operation. One of these units is operating at reduced capacity. The peak demand in Bartica is approximately 1.6 MW and the current output of the two units is 1.7 MW. In addition, GPL said it has transported an operational generating unit to Bartica. This unit was to be commissioned yesterday with an operational capacity of 1.5MW. GPL will now decommission one of the units that is producing 0.4 MW for immediate remedial work. The total generating capacity in Bartica should therefore be 2.8MW, which is significantly above the peak demand.
At Anna Regina, two of the three generating units were unavailable as a result of “unexpected mechanical failures”, GPL said. One of the two units, was operating at reduced capacity. The peak demand is 2.7MW while available generation was 2.5MW.
GPL said it undertook urgent repairs on the unit with reduced capacity and has been able to increase capacity to meet peak demand.
Further, the third unit is undergoing a major overhaul and is expected to be back in service on November 11, 2016. Once commissioned there will be an additional 1.3MW of generating capacity at this facility.
GPL has also begun the procurement process for three new 60 hertz/cycle 1.7MW HFO generating units for Anna Regina. The company expects arrival of the new unit in May 2017.
The acquisitions for Anna Regina and Bartica means that GPL is investing in more heavy fuel oil generators at a time when the government is trying to burnish its clean energy credentials and Bartica was being presented as a future model for green energy.
GPL says it intends to complete the frequency conversion from 50hertz to 60hertz from La Union to Charity prior to the arrival of the new generating units for Anna Regina.
Looking to the future, GPL said that a new hybrid (fuel/renewable energy) Power Station is planned for Anna Regina. GPL expects to partner with Independent Power Providers on the renewable energy component.
At Fairfield, Essequibo Coast, there are two units at this facility which serve villages from Hoff Van Aurich to Supenaam. The capacity of the one unit available is sufficient to meet the peak demand of 1.3MW. The second unit is expected to be in operation by November 4, 2016.
Demerara- Berbice Interconnected System
GPL noted that on October 18 and 19 2016, the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) suffered shutdowns due to suspected faults on the 69kv transmission line linking the Kingston Power Station to the Sophia Substation (Dispatch Centre).
GPL said it stabilised the system on October 19, 2016 and restored services after making adjustments to its protection system.
The power company says it intends to do a comprehensive maintenance exercise on the medium voltage (11 kv, 50 Hz) and high voltage (69kv) transmission line linking the Kingston Power Station to the Sophia Substation scheduled for Sunday November 6, 2016.
This planned maintenance exercise, expected to be of 10 hours duration, will affect areas on East Coast Demerara, East Bank Demerara and Georgetown as switching activities are carried out, and will result in some areas being without power for the duration of the exercise.
Next year, GPL said it intends to begin constructing the following:
– A second 69kv transmission line linking the Kingston substation and the Sophia substation.
– A second 69kv transmission line linking the Sophia, Good Hope and Columbia substations.
These second lines will provide redundancies in the transmission network.
Four new substations will also be built between 2017-2018 at Parika, East Bank Essequibo; Canal Number 2, West Bank Demerara; Kuru Kuru, East Bank Demerara and Williamsburg, East Bank Berbice.
GPL said that the majority of blackouts are the result of Feeder Trips and said that there is no shortage of generating capacity in the Demerara-Berbice Interconnection system.
It plans to install electronic remote control devices on its distribution feeders to reduce the duration and frequency of these outages. This would cut the current level of manual intervention for:
– fault detection,
– isolation of affected areas and
– fault correction.
GPL said that its power generation is backed by an annual maintenance programme at all generating locations. This maintenance programme determines the extent of maintenance which is decided by the number of hours each engine has been in service.