GPL’s new power generators arrive at Garden of Eden
The five Wartsila generators, which have been repeatedly touted to be among the breakthrough initiatives for increasing electricity supply, have finally arrived at its Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara location.
But while these generators are now in the possession of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc., citizens are being reminded that it will not come on stream until the end of April 2021, when the almost 50-year power plant at Garden of Eden completes its upgrade.
The generators arrived in Guyana from Finland on November 5 and were later placed on a barge at the John Fernandes Wharf for transport to the East Bank Demerara facility.
The arrival of the generators, along with the government’s move to buy power from private entities, offer major comfort for citizens who have had to deal with frequent power outages.
The upgrade to the Garden of Eden generation plant, which was first commissioned in 1974 with two generators and later recommissioned in 1997 with two more generators, is being regarded as the largest generation project to date, promising landmark efficiency.
The five generators, each of which has the capacity to generate 9.3 MW of power, is part of the bigger 46 MW project.
Currently, engineers are carrying out both below surface civil works and above ground civil works at Garden of Eden; some amount of additional interconnection will need to be done before the 46 MW comes on stream next year.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar witnessed the offloading of the generators on Wednesday. He said this is testimony to the government’s commitment to providing reliable power to citizens within the first hundred days in office.
The generators were procured by the former APNU+AFC government and were manufactured but remained in Finland awaiting shipping.
“I just want to show the nation that we did mention this when we came into government… we did what we had to do to get it here by this time,” he added.
Indar said this will be added to the current Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS), but the government will also have to look at upgrading old transmission lines.
“Those transmission lines need upgrading. GPL is already looking at that… so that power can move from generation to households,” Indar said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of GPL Inc., Albert Gordon assured that the project remains on schedule. He said it was very significant for a number of reasons, including providing additional (reserve) capacity, replacement of old parts and saving on fuel use.
Gordon explained too that the plant is strategically located at Garden of Eden to the other side of the submarine cable that imports power from Vreed-en-Hoop, allowing for better catering for imbalances in the system.
He said that the upgrade to the plant marks the beginning of the transition to the use of natural gas, which will, in turn, reduce the cost for the generation of power.
Gordon was backed up by Ryan Ross, the Divisional Director of Engineering Services with responsibility for the Wartsila project. He reiterated that it was the largest project to date for GPL, labelling it as a significant achievement.
Ross added that his team of other sub-contractors were working assiduously to complete the project by the due date. He said currently, it is about 58 per cent complete.