Blue Hills engine adds 34 megawatts to BPL grid

With 34 megawatts of new energy officially introduced to New Providence’s grid through the use of a General Electric (GE) aeroderivative gas turbine at Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) Blue Hills Power Station, “There will be an end to load shedding,” BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said yesterday, explaining that BPL will now have 352 megawatts available against an expected summer peak of 260 megawatts.

Moxey, who spoke at the ceremony to officially inaugurate the turning on of the new TM2500 engine, said the addition of the aeroderivative system introduces new, clean technology to BPL’s mix, to extend the company’s move to cleaner energy, while improving New Providence’s power stability.

“The new TM2500 here at Blue Hills will introduce a new technology to the mix in a way that we expect will contribute to our focus on minimizing fuel consumption and adding significant generation capacity,” Moxey said.

“All of these machines will be switched to LNG (liquefied natural gas) as soon as the regasification facility is available. That’s a turnaround in efficiency, output and environment sustainability that Bahamians can be proud of.

“Even before station D is completed next year, our generation capacity is already growing by leaps and bounds. Station A adds an additional 132 megawatts, all of which will be available for this summer. This new GE machine adds at least 30 megawatts to that, on top of the current availability which hovers at 190 megawatts. That means we will have over 352 megawatts available against the summer peak of 260 expected megawatts.”

Chief Executive Officer of GE Gas Power Americas Eric Gray said yesterday during the ceremony that the new engine operates at 37 percent efficiency and can peak at 34 megawatts.

He said GE is honored to help stabilize the country’s power grid, with an engine that took fewer than 45 days to install.

“This adds a significant amount of energy to the country’s operation and will also allow BPL to deliver a better service to its customers and to the  millions of tourists that visit The Bahamas every year,” Gray said.

Charge d’Affaires for the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas Stephanie Bowers said she is encouraged by GE’s presence in The Bahamas and the ability of its new engine to power schools, homes and businesses.

“As charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy, I strive to connect the Bahamian people with American companies, to foster productive relationships that  benefit both our countries,” Bowers said.

“The introduction of GE’s innovative energy technology is yet another example of the progress we can make when we work together.”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis fired up the new aeroderivative system, which has been sending power to New Providence’s grid for the past two weeks.

Minnis said the addition of the new technology is part of his government’s larger strategy to bring The Bahamas out of “literal dark days”.

“For decades, high energy costs have been an extraordinary burden on the Bahamian people and businesses,” Minnis said.

“The actions we are taking will reduce the cost of living and the cost and ease of doing business in The Bahamas. We are putting the literal dark days and decades of load shedding behind us.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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