The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) on Friday commissioned a US$8.5 million power plant as part of the company’s expansion program.
However, although the plant was commissioned on Friday, it has been in use since September 2018.
The plant has the capacity to produce 5.5 megawatts of power and forms part of the Demerara-Berbice interconnection system which supplies electricity through most of the coast and the capital city.
This is considered a significant improvement since the old plant which was commissioned in the 1970s was capable of producing 4.5 megawatts and had already completed 130,000 running hours.
At the commissioning ceremony, GPL’s Project Manager Linden Edwards said the old plant could no longer supply the needed power.
“Even with the best of maintenance, its reliable operations could not be guaranteed. This meant that the supply of electricity to the Berbice region was heavily dependent on power being transferred from the Demerara-Berbice interconnection system and as a consequence, the integrity of the 69 KV lines. This situation could be alleviated with a 5.5-megawatt plant,” Edwards explained.
However, while the company boasts of improved capacity, the Guyana Water Inc in January said GPL was not providing the 440 volts needed to push its water pumps in Canje and along the Corentyne, forcing thousands to be without a regular supply of water.
Nonetheless, this new plant was first tested on September 19, 2018, and started operations on September 24.
Chief Executive Officer of the power company, Albert Gordon explained that the investment is in keeping with the company’s mandate to support sustainable development.
“Within that context, GPL seeks to become a world-class utility service provider. We want to be among the best of the best in order to deliver the best to the people of Guyana and in order to do that we want to focus on seven areas where we want to excel.”
These areas, he said are service quality, reliability, access, efficiency and affordability of the service being provided. The protection of the environment is also among the areas of focus.
Speaking of additional plans, the CEO said a further 10 to 15 megawatts will be added to the Canefield facility within the next two years so that Berbice will not be affected if the Sophia plant goes down.
Meanwhile, new lines and substations are to be developed in other areas as the company moves towards producing solar energy.
Some 30 megawatts from solar and a further 10 megawatts generated from wind are part of the plans.
Gordon said Wakenaam, Bartica and Anna Regina are three areas which will benefit from solar power.