GPL shutdown: Issues could be resolved by Thursday; GPL eyes powering up two generators

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The Wärtsilä team probing the issues that led to the shutdown of the massive Garden of Eden power plant on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) has given assurances to the management of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) that those issues could be resolved by Thursday.

This is according to GPL’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bharat Dindyal who also highlighted that two additional engineers from the factory where the plant’s engines were constructed would be joining the investigating team at least by Wednesday.

“They’re telling us from this distance that they don’t think that it would take them beyond Thursday,” the CEO said during a telephone interview with the News Room on Tuesday.

Wärtsilä is the company that constructed the plant; this facility only came into commercial operation in November 2021- just about two months ago.

And already, the Wärtsilä team has dismantled one engine at the power plant and there appears to be little evidence to support the concerns that fuel was entering the exhaust system.

GPL’s CEO Bharrat Dindyal briefs members of the Media at the Garden of Eden power plant Friday night

Several issues were noticed at the power plant that contributed to the shutting down of the plant last Friday but it was an indication that fuel was getting into the exhaust system that prompted the shutdown.

Dindyal noted that the engineers have not conclusively ruled out this issue but it is continuing investigations to determine the root cause of the problems observed at the plant.

“We know for sure there is fuel contaminating the lubricating oil, that is one issue we know for sure that has to be dealt with (but) how that is happening is that they are checking on now,” Dindyal said.

Meanwhile, the CEO said that GPL is exploring whether it can power up back two of the five generators at the East Bank power plant. This will be done to ensure that GPL continues to meet consumers’ electricity demand.

With the maintenance of some older equipment and machinery, GPL has been able to provide about 120 megawatts (MW) of power which is just about the amount required to satisfy the current electricity demand.

That demand could increase to about 125MW if there are warmer temperatures experienced; however, if the weather remains cool, the 120MW that GPL can provide now should suffice.

The Garden of Eden power plant provides about 46.5 MW; if two of the five generators are powered up again, additional power could be provided to the grid.

This is expected to reduce the need for GPL to engage in load shedding, which occurs where power companies reduce electricity consumption by switching off the power supply to some groups of customers because the system is at risk.

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