Electricity woes: Govt to buy 36MW of ‘emergency power’ from Turkish Company – VP Jagdeo

– to be installed within 3 weeks at Everton, Berbice

In a move to alleviate the current electricity woes across the country, the Guyana Government is moving to purchase power 36 megawatts (MW) of emergency power to add to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. grid.
This was revealed by Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo during his weekly press briefing on Thursday
A ministerial group – comprising VP Jagdeo; Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, S.C.; Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar – was established to look into the current wave of power instability across the country.

One of the floating power vessels that is operated by Turkish-based Karpowership

According to the Vice President, the group is currently working on a proposal to purchase “emergency power” to supplement GPL’s generating capacity.
The company that the government will be buying the power from is the Latin American arm of Turkish-based Karpowership – which operates a fleet of ships that generate electricity. The contract is expected to be signed in the coming days and the power installed within the next three weeks.
“Today, we are meeting with the company to supply emergency power. Hopefully, before the end of this week, we can conclude this contract and have this vessel arrive in the country maybe two to three weeks later. That will see a significant injection of power into the grid in addition to what we have,” Jagdeo revealed.
The Vice President added that most of the terms of the contract have already been ironed out. Based on the current arrangement, Karpowership will supply 36 MW of electricity.
According to Jagdeo, the government was considering bringing in a vessel with a larger generating capacity – more than 70 MW – but GPL’s current infrastructure would not have supported such a massive injection of power into the national grid.
For example, he pointed out that the transmission main at the Kingston Power Plant cannot accommodate the addition of power, not even the 36 MW since it can only transmit power generated at that facility.
“So, we wouldn’t be able to produce there because the transmission main can only move the Kingston power. So, this is why we’re looking at bringing it into the Berbice River at Everton. That way, we’d be able to dispatch the power [onto the national grid].”
“We had to look at the river, the depth of the river, the connection to the existing grid – that has been done, the type of fuel… and the terms of the contract which we seem to now have settled. So, barring no unforeseen circumstance, we should be able to wrap this up in a day or two and it will take about two to three weeks [for the vessel] to deploy here,” Jagdeo stated on Thursday.
When it comes to the cost of this deal, Jagdeo explained that Guyana would only be paying for the equipment and the operation of the power ship, which amounts to some eight cents per kilowatt/hour (kwh).
“There is a capacity charge and an O&M (Operate and Manage) charge – combined that’s less than 8 cents per kwh but then we supply the fuel… So, they will supply the equipment and operate it and we will supply the fuel,” he noted.
Karpowership is the owner, operator, and builder of the world’s only Powership (floating power plant) fleet and has an active role in medium to long-term investments, providing access to fast-track, affordable and reliable electricity.
The major power ship company has installed some 6,000 MW of capacity in more than 20 countries across the world. In this region, they currently have operations in neighbouring Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
According to VP Jagdeo, the government had previously received a proposal from this company but that deal was for a longer period than the two-year that has been agreed upon in the current contract.
Nevertheless, he posited that this latest intervention by the government will support the state-owned GPL until the operationalisation of the government’s model Gas-to-Energy project, which features a 300 MW power plant at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara, utilising natural gas from the oil production activities offshore Guyana.
“We intend to contract this [Turkish company] for two years until the Gas-to-Energy project is completed. So, we’re hoping that within a matter of weeks, we’re hoping to bring this to normalcy and then have extra power to address any failure of equipment as we have experienced recently,” he added.
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.
The government has blamed the issues at the state-owned power company on several issues ranging from aged infrastructure and systems to lack of maintenance, to human resource gap, and the growing electricity demand coupled with public destruction of the entity’s transmission utilities.

According to VP Jagdeo, the ministerial team is currently focused on ensuring that GPL’s generating capacity is maximized. This involves bringing into operation, the remaining containerised generator sets.
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 were shipment delays and technical issues in setting them up.
Only nine of these gen-sets have been installed before this month. Last weekend, another five of the generators were connected on Saturday night while the remaining three sets will be installed by the end of this week.
“They told me hopefully by Saturday that they should be able to get most of the equipment or some of the equipment up and running again, that will allow us to have capacity that maximises the peak demand… I’m going on what GPL is saying because I don’t like putting my neck on a block for GPL and I don’t want to disappoint people but this is what we’re told and they’re working in earnest to get that done,” the Vice President said.
Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Kesh Nandlall, had previously told the Guyana Times that approximately 10 megawatts would be added to the national grid with the operationalisation of these remaining eight generators. (G-8)