Power ship ready, preparations ongoing for connection to national grid

Preparations are still ongoing for the Qatar-based Urbacon Concessions Investments, W.L.L (UCI) power ship being rented by Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to be connected to the national grid.
Several testing activities were conducted on Tuesday as preparations continue to have the 36 megawatts power ship connected to the national grid.
Almost everything is in place for the floating power plant which is being rented by Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to produce power to the Demerara-Berbice Interconnecting Grid.
The plans are by the utility company that when the ship starts producing power to the grid, this is expected to end the current spate of blackouts being experienced on both Demerara and Berbice.
The crew aboard the ship is now waiting on GPL.
The three power plants aboard the ship have been tested and are ready to be connected to the national grid.
The ship is docked at Everton on the East Bank of Berbice in Region Six, where it will then be connected to the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System.
On Tuesday, Berbice Zone Manager Ravindra Jagnanand said GPL still needed to get the power lines ready to be connected to the ship.
He also noted that the company has to install security lighting for both crew and vessel.
Jagnanand told this publication that they are almost ready but did not give a time when the ship will start providing power to the grid, pointing out that rain could affect the remainder of work but expressed optimism that it will be shortly.
According to the zone manager, preparing the vessel to be connected to the inshore power lines has been very challenging.
It was initially reported that the ship will start providing power to the national grid on May 8.
According to the zone manager in an interview with the media a few days ago, it has been very challenging making preparations for the vessel to be connected to the inshore power lines.
“Over the last two weeks, our teams have been working daily and assiduously to get all the proprietary works completed to accommodate this power ship. We would have started with the pile driving process because stability is paramount to secure or mooring the vessel; so that is the first step that we would have taken. Our T&D [transmission and distribution] team over the past two weeks was working to complete the new transmission line connecting the power ship to our 69 KV network,” Jagnanand explained.
He added that the team over the past two weeks the weather pattern posed challenges for the workers on the ground.
“But the team is fully committed to executing their mandate.”
The utility company has been experiencing generation shortfalls due to an unprecedented rise in electricity demand. The situation has led the company to procure the power ship to boost the generation capacity of the GPL within the Demerara-Berbice Interconnecting System.
The local power company is expected to be able to access 36 megawatts of electricity from the ship.
“The ship comes with a length of cable or conductor. It is about 100 meters in length. We will make the necessary connections from their gantry on the ship onto our transmission lines and that will be the final stage of the operations. We are hoping to get it done as soon as possible but I can’t put a timeline to it because as we speak it is raining. That is one of the issues that could influence the timely operation.”
GPL is currently generating about 165 megawatts of power. However, the peak demand is about 180 megawatts hence the shortfall.
One of the reasons for the shortfall in supply is as a result of a huge increase in customers for GPL. In 2014, GPL had 177,780 customers and at the end of 2023, it had 227,067.
With the government’s housing drive, a significant portion of the projected 10,000 house lots have been distributed this year with many of them being ‘turn-key’ and have been connected to the grid pushing the increase in customers to well over 50,000 since 2014, when the previous People’s Progressive Party government had been investing heavily in the power company ensuring that it was capable of meeting its demands.
However, the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government which was in office from 2015 – 20120, paid little or no attention to the growing demands of the State-owned power company and during its tenure in office the demand for electricity outran power generation.
Earlier this year GPL has signed a multi-million-dollar deal for the rental of the floating power plant for two years in a move to add much-needed generating capacity to the grid. (G4)