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Moxey: Clifton not yet capable of providing majority of generation

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) should be able to cover New Providence’s baseload generation by March or April 2020, BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said yesterday.

“So, about March or April of next year, we will have enough generation assets, including Station A and all of the generation assets that have gone through full maintenance,” Moxey told The Nassau Guardian.

“We should have enough of that to cover baseload generation for New Providence coming out of Clifton Pier Power Station.”

Moxey said BPL’s annual baseload of operation is 180 megawatts.

He said that that number peaks during the summer to “around 250 or 260” megawatts.

During the winter it dips to 100 to 120

megawatts, according to Moxey.

“And so, when you look at switching baseload or having a baseload plant, Clifton Pier is our baseload plant,” he said.

“Now, what we’re doing right now is we’re going through our winter maintenance schedule where the engines in Engine Hall B are being maintained.

“And so, no, we don’t have baseload coming out of Clifton yet but that’s intended to come out once we have a chance to complete the much-needed maintenance on the engines that are in Station B.”

He said the maintenance is expected to be completed by “pre-summer”.

The chairman’s comments came two days after BPL’s new plant at Clifton came online.

The plant, which was announced in March, will provide 130 megawatts of generation to New Providence. It is expected to increase the generation capacity to the island.

It was initially expected to be completed by September.

However, the date of completion was pushed down by officials.

On Sunday, BPL announced that the plant at Station A was officially “online and providing power to the grid”.

It noted that the plant features “seven state-of-the-art Wartsila 50DF tri-fuel engines”.

According to BPL, each engine has been tested and commissioned over the past few weeks and was already been tested at full load on the BPL power grid.

Yesterday, Moxey said BPL doesn’t intend to run all seven engines at the same time.

“If we ran all seven engines at the same time continuously, they will all hit the same maintenance windows at the same time,” he said.

“And so, we would then be forced to shut the plant down for an extended period of time for all the engines. The way this plant is being operated is consistent with best practices on how you operate a new plant. That’s how we’re doing this.”

When asked how many engines were currently being used, Moxey replied, “I don’t know the specifics of the schedule, to be honest with you. I’ve left that completely up to the folks involved in generation and operations.”

He wasn’t able to say how many megawatts are being produced at the new plant.

“In terms of what it’s producing at any one time, I have no idea because I don’t have access to that operational data,” the chairman said.

“All I know is – based on how these plants typically operate – it’s producing its maximum capacity based on best practices.”

Moxey continued, “The capacity is rated for 130 megawatts. What (is) being produced right now at this time? I couldn’t tell you that because I don’t know specifically what the schedule is in terms of when engines are ran and for how long.”

Moxey said BPL is currently using diesel oil fuel at Station A.

According to Moxey, the power company intends to start using heavy fuel oil within “the next 30 days or so”.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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