APUA must help ‘fill the gap’ left by axed power plant

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APUA will be tasked with helping fill the gap left by the closure of the Wadadli Power Plant, Cabinet spokesperson, Minister Melford Nicholas, said this morning (Thursday).
He also revealed at a press briefing that plans are being put in place by the Environment Ministry to increase the usage and supply of renewable energy.

“As to whether or not it leaves a gap in the supply of electricity, I am sure the electricity manager would have indicated the problems they have had. It is no secret that we have been faced with frequent power outages and even a schedule of power outages. I heard one on the way over to the facility this morning,” he said.

“Whether or not APUA will seek to get an increased supply from one of the other power purchase partners, it’s going to be a matter of determination for APUA in short order.
“I know the Ministry of Health and Environment has been working with the Antigua Public Utilities Authority to make sure that there will be an increased supply of renewable energy and as these measures come into being and we take more of the government’s supply off of the national grid then it will ease the burden of APUA but again, it is a multi-faceted equation that I think they will have to deal with,” Nicholas explained.

APUA’s Electricity Business Unit Manager, Andre Matthias, broke the news on Tuesday that the controversial plant would be closing due to the conditions of the plant itself and its underperformance.

Matthias said it was the best economic decision.

Negotiations first began in 2006 for the provision of a 30-megawatt power plant, with Beijing Construction Engineering Group Company Ltd having been selected as the contractors. A loan for EC$120 million was provided by China through the Export Import Bank of China.

The plant has been plagued by operational challenges since it was commissioned in 2011.

Matthias said the 30-megawatt plant, which housed six units, already had rusting before the point of its commissioning and was decommissioned five years later.

Three of the units were brought back into use in 2017 at the cost of $6 million. Matthias revealed one of them failed recently, further aggravating problems.

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