Load shedding needed to prevent total collapse of DBIS – GPL

…says addition of 36 MW power ship allows for more maintenance work

While many Guyanese complain about the inconvenience of load shedding, it is actually necessary to prevent the collapse of the entire power system. This is according to Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Systems and Operations Manager, Navin Deonarayan.
The state media was recently given a behind the scenes look at the GPL operation center, where the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) is managed. Deonarayan explained the work being done to keep the DBIS afloat.
“We have here a software we’re trying to build internally. And what it does is log all generation data, every hour. And you can see the operator now entering the data. So, she’s entering what the generators generate at a specific time.”
“This tells us, for example, the amount of generation we have available. So, this plot here comes from that data that the operator enters, which she receives from power plants. And this line shows us the demand. For example, at 12 last night and the early morning, we have some space. Meaning there is some amount of reserve capacity,” he said.
When the demand for power overtakes the DBIS’ reserve capacity, it becomes necessary to do load shedding, also known as opening a feeder. This is something that is tracked in real time, by operators in the control center.
“At this time, we’re seeing that the demand is fluctuating here and even touching the capacity line. So, when that happens, is when we see a difference in our frequency. So therefore, we’ll have to at this point open a feeder. Because there’s essentially zero capacity remaining. And if we allow it to continue like that, we may eventually end up in a situation where there’s a trip of a generator.”
“When we say open a feeder, it means that at the sub-station, there’s a circuit breaker there similar to what you have in the house. But a bigger version, that supplies power to the lines that you see running along the road ways. And of course, there are multiple transformers connected to those lines along the poles. And then we as customers get power from those transformers.”
As it relates to ensuring that generators are in the best working conditions, he revealed that they have now been given more time to do maintenance. This, according to Deonarayan, is due to the 36-megawatt (MW) power ship that was recently added to the grid through Everton, Berbice.
“So, once we open that circuit breaker at the substation, that line goes out. So essentially the customers don’t receive power anymore. It is absolutely necessary, because that’s how we manage the frequency and keep the system alive. If we don’t do this, the entire system may collapse. Thus, everyone is out of power.”
“We have not taken out feeders because of generation shortfalls, since the introduction of that ship. This has given us some comfort, presently, in relation to being able to carry out maintenance on other generators. For instance, currently we have like two generators down for maintenance as we speak,” Deonarayan further explained.
In April, GPL signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Qatar-based Urbacon Concessions Investments, W.L.L (UCI) for the rental of the 36-MW floating power plant for two years in a move to add much-needed capacity to the grid.
While the rental deal was signed with UCI, the power ship is owned by Turkey-based Karpowership International. As part of this agreement, GPL has already paid a US$1 million mobilisation fee.
The power company also has to pay a fee of US 6.62 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as a monthly charter fee for the power ship and a monthly operation and maintenance fee of US 0.98 cents per kWh based on electricity generated. GPL is also required to provide Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) for the operation of the generators onboard the vessel.
The State-owned power company has been experiencing generation shortfalls due to an unprecedented rise in electricity demand coupled with challenges from its aged equipment. In March, two of GPL’s engines failed disrupting power generation across the country.
Before this vessel was connected to the grid, GPL was generating about 165 megawatts of power. However, the peak demand is about 180 megawatts. (G3)