Wärtsilä clears GPL plant for use but no update on what triggered shutdown – PM

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About three months after the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) was forced to shut down its massive Garden of Eden power plant on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD), Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips says that the plant has been cleared for use.

“All five of the generator sets were checked and all are now back in service, so we have electricity from all five generator sets,” the Prime Minister told the News Room on Monday.

He, however, explained that Wärtsilä, the company contracted to construct, install and maintain the generators at the plant, has been unable to identify what triggered the January 14 shutdown.

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) was forced to shut down the power plant amid fears of a massive explosion on January 14. This facility only came into commercial operation in November 2021.

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

Since then, a team of engineers from Wärtsilä has been attempting to identify what caused the issue.

The company, the Prime Minister said on Monday, has sent fuel samples and other material for testing overseas. He said the local authorities are still awaiting a report from the company.

Asked if the government was confident about using the plant to supply power again, the Prime Minister said that it was Wärtsilä that “gave the go ahead” to repower the plant.

He also emphasised that the entire exercise of dismantling the generators for the investigations and the general troubleshooting exercise has been of no cost to Guyana.

Each of the five generators at this plant can supply 9.3 megawatts (MW) of power. In total, the East Bank plant provides about 46.5 MW of power to the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS), Guyana’s main electricity grid.

In total, peak demand for electricity for GPL’s customers stands at around 120MW. Since the shutdown, that demand has been satisfied by older machines with intermittent power outages (load shedding).

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