Government signs deal for “power ship” to supply 36megawatts to national grid

Government signs deal for “power ship” to supply 36megawatts to national grid

The Government, through the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL), has signed an agreement with a Qatari-based energy company – UCC Holding – for the supply of 36 megawatts of power with the use of a “power ship.”

President Irfaan Ali made the announcement on Friday during a live Facebook broadcast.

The country has been facing major power supply problems over the past several weeks, with almost daily blackouts in several areas across Georgetown and Berbice. However, the President is optimistic that the power supply ship will be able to provide much relief to those affected by the current spate of power outages. The ship is expected to arrive in Guyana’s waters within the next three weeks.

“I wish to announce that today, Government, through the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated, conducted a time-chartered agreement with UCC Holding, for a power ship to be deployed to Guyana within three weeks. And, within these three weeks, it has to be connected to the grid. This arrangement will bring an additional 36 megawatts of power to the national grid to offset generation shortfalls,” the President announced. 

He said the within the coming days, the Government will be working with GPL to ensure the requisite infrastructures are in place to connect the power supply ship to GPL’s grid.

Opposition Member of Parliament, David Patterson, has forewarned that the use of a power ship or power barge may not be feasible, but President Ali has assured that the vessel is being sourced at a competitive cost. 

“The vessel would be chartered for a period of 24 months from the date of commencement of the agreement. This power arrangement is being obtained at a very competitive cost. It will cover the charter cost of the vessel, including its generating engines, as well as operations and maintenance costs,” he said, without divulging further details about the cost of the power ship and its maintenance. 

The President, however, admitted that while the power supply ship will see the injection of 36 megawatts of power into the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS), the country would still be in need of an additional 60 megawatts of power to meet the growing demand for power. 

The Government intends to hire 10 engineers from Cuba to boost GPL’s technical capacity. 

“Additionally, we are taking steps to increase the technical capacity of GPL by recruiting an additional 10 engineers with the relevant skills to ensure adequate maintenance and reliability of the system,” President Ali further detailed. 

It was noted that Government had sought first to procure the services of Guyanese engineers to boost GPL’s technical capacity, but that has proven to be challenging, which has resulted in the government turning to Cuba. 

The President said the current steps being taken will allow for the Government to advance work on the Gas-to-Energy Project at Wales. 

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