5 additionally GEN sets installed, contributing to grid – GPL Head

…remaining generators from US$27M deal will be set up this week

With the hopes of alleviating its heightened power outage woes, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) has successfully installed five containerised electricity generators over the weekend to enhance the capacity of the national grid.
Back in December, 17 generator sets were purchased to the tune of US$27 million to enhance power generation during the Christmas holiday. Procured from Apan Energy Service, these sets were expected to contribute an additional 28.9 megawatts to the national grid, but there have been shipment delays and technical issues in setting them up, and it has been reported that only nine of these gen sets have been installed.

CEO Of GPL Kesh Nandlall

Five of the eight remaining gen sets were connected on Saturday night and according to Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Kesh Nandlall, there had been no issues up to Sunday evening.
“They are up and running since [Saturday] night… They are up and running and they are contributing to the grid,” Nandlall told the Guyana Times on Sunday.
He added that the remaining three generation sets will be installed during the course of this week.
Nandlall had previously told this newspaper that when these eight generators are all connected, approximately 10 megawatts would be added to the national grid.
For the past week, Guyana has been enduring a heightened spate of blackouts following what the GPL had described as engine failures at different locations. At least two engines are currently down.
With its current challenges, GPL is now generating some 165 megawatts of power. However, the current peak demand for electricity is at 180 megawatts.
Government has blamed the issues at the state-owned power company to a number of issues ranging from aged infrastructure and systems to lack of maintenance, to human resource gap, and to the growing demand for electricity coupled with public destruction of the entity’s transmission utilities.
In fact, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, at his weekly press conference on Thursday, acknowledged that the state of affairs at the power company is “bad” but assured that the Government is seeking to purchase an additional 40 to 80 megawatts of power in order to offset increasing demands.
“The situation is bad, there is no sugarcoating this… We are not going to say people are not justified in the harsh comments they make, because we feel it ourselves. Because we live here and we are consumers too.”
“Yes, the performance of GPL is atrocious in many cases, but also, we are dealing with a real fact: growth demand and old equipment… Now, anyone here in Guyana would understand the growth in demand. You just look at the housing schemes: more houses, air-conditioned houses, more people are getting more money and they’re putting in AC. You have a number of businesses opening up, oil and gas projects, hotels, etc., and they are utilising significantly more power. So, our demand has grown, but we are still limping along with (some) old equipment,” Jagdeo explained.
To address the issue in the short term, VP Jagdeo said, efforts are underway to purchase 40 to 80 megawatts of power for a period of two years, until the Gas-to-Energy project comes on stream. In the meantime, he noted, solar panels are also being used in the hinterland and other areas to increase the generation of electricity in those areas.
The PPP/C Government’s model Gas-to-Energy project includes a 300-megawatt power plant using natural gas that would be piped from the oil-rich Stabroek Block’s Liza field, offshore Guyana, to an integrated gas processing facility at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara. The project is set to come on stream next year.

Issues interconnected
Meanwhile, President Dr Irfaan Ali told reporters on the sidelines of an event last Wednesday that the issues affecting GPL’s operations are multifaceted and interconnected. He said while Government is looking to immediately bring in additional power, while there is a massive need for technical capacity at GPL.
That support, according to the Head of State, could be imported since efforts to fill the human resource gap within the electricity sector has not been fruitful.
“We have to get more engineers, more technicians and more linesmen urgently, because of the demand in the system. Because of the use of the system and the expansion of the system, there will be tremendous technical support that will come. Right now, as I speak to you, I’ve expressed my disappointment (at GPL’s operations, but) the system needs technical people. There are a number of vacancies. They’ve been trying to recruit, but they’re not getting the people. So, they’re (going) out once more, and if they don’t get, then we’ll have to bring in that technical support,” the Guyanese Leader noted.
The Head of State said Dominican Republic-based energy company InterEnergy Group (IEG) is one of the partners that the Guyana Government would be working with.
Moreover, the Guyana Government has approached the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) for financing to upgrade the aged transmission system and distribution network. According to Ali, this could be a “sizeable” amount, given the need of the power company. (G8)