GPL rushes to fix power plant; PM says gov’t on standby to provide resources

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By Vishani Ragobeer

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With the gradual shutting down of the GPL plant at Garden of Eden on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) to prevent a massive explosion, a troubleshooting process will begin as early as Friday night to identify the source of the issue.

This is according to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL)’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bharat Dindyal who spoke to reporters at the plant site on Friday.

At the time, three of the five generators at the plant had been powered down. With the generators down, Dindyal explained that machinery at the site would have to cool down and then workers from Wärtsilä would investigate. There’s a reported fuel leak at the plant which made its way into the exhaust system.

“We are hoping that they would start the troubleshooting process tonight.

“We’ll have to probably pull the injectors and test the injectors to see how they are performing and why the fuel is getting into the exhaust system,” Dindyal explained.

The Garden of Eden GPL plant (Photo: News Room/ January 14, 2022)

For context, Wärtsilä is the company that constructed the plant. This facility only came into commercial operation in November 2021- just about two months ago.

But Dindyal related that GPL has actually been noticing some issues for “about a month”; first, it was an issue of overheating.

With no definitive idea what caused the issue, fuel samples were sent to a facility in Houston, Texas for analysis. Two concerns about the fuel were raised but Dindyal said it did not appear to warrant immediate intervention.

As such, efforts were made to incrementally change the lube oil that was being used. Still, additional issued arose with clumps of soot observed in the vent system.

“If you continue to operate that you can destroy the engine,” he explained.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips at the Garden of Eden Power Plant on Friday

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips has assured Guyanese that the government is on standby to provide any assistance necessary to remedy the “very concerning” issue.

Importantly, some of the equipment needed to do any replacements may already be in the country as spare supplies. Without identifying the root cause of the issue though, it is not yet clear what spare equipment would be needed.

Still, Prime Minister Phillips said, “If there is any additional component that they would need to get into the country, the government would work with GPL and Wärtsilä to get it in as early as possible.”

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