By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
BAHAMAS Power and Light’s new $95m power plant will be complete by December 15, according to Edmund Phillips, Wärtsilä business development manager.
He said his company was originally eying an early fall finish, however Mr Phillips suggested that unexpected factors contributed to a later anticipated completion date.
Mr Phillips was asked by The Tribune to respond to recent speculation that the plant would not be complete until early 2020.
“Initially when we looked at the facility, as you know it’s a brown field facility in the sense that we’re not building a brand-new plant,” Mr Phillips said at a BPL press conference. “We are looking at what’s there and we are taking out the older engines and bringing in the new engines and so forth.
“So having said that, a project of this magnitude there are always unknowns so when we first looked at the site we gave some estimates to BPL where we were saying early fall. Now we are already in it we have started the project and are well on our way with the project. The estimate now to complete this plant is December 15, 2019.”
Mr Phillips said he was extremely saddened to by the power reliability issues now being experienced in the country. He revealed yesterday that from as early as 2011, he has been submitting proposals to fix the issues.
“I just want the people of The Bahamas to know that I am extremely saddened by what I am seeing in here in The Bahamas today. I too I came here just recently for some vacation and I can tell you every single day we experienced some sort of outage in the hotel so I really understand the pain and suffering that is being experienced right now in The Bahamas.
“What I have here are proposals made at different times to the different leaderships of the day. I have proposals here that I made in 2011.
“The proposals we made was simply to address the problems. The problems that’s being experienced nine years ago and we made proposals in 2011 and we made proposals 2012 and we made another one in 2015 because we saw what was happening the infrastructure was ageing.
“Every time I tried I was told I’m a foreigner and I don’t know what’s happening in The Bahamas. It’s ok we stuck to our guns and Wärtsilä as a company supported this effort. We did not give up because we know as a company we can truly assist in fixing this problem and we can do that because we’ve done it in many other Caribbean islands.”
BPL chairman Donovan Moxey further clarified the cost and financing of the new plant at Clifton Pier’s Station A.
He said $95m was redirected from capital works projects.
“That number describes civil works (and) everything that went into developing that power plant including the purchase of the engines. That’s the cost to The Bahamians people,” Mr Moxey said. “Ninety-five million - that’s the cost that we are accountable for.”
According to the chairman, this would be the first phase of BPL’s generation turnaround strategy. Additionally, he said the power provider intends to do everything it can to deliver solar power to Ragged Island by December.
Mr Moxey said: “The Station A power plant is the largest single plant ever built in the history of the company, it will allow us the ability to address some of the generation issues mentioned earlier, as well as allow BPL to better prepare to serve its customers in summer 2020 and beyond.
“The completion of a second gas-to-power plant by Shell North America will mark the completion of the second phase of our generation turnaround strategy, which will see another 90+ megawatts of high-efficiency, low-emissions generation pumping power to the grid by mid-2021.”
Phase three of the turnaround for generation is the completion of the terminal facility for LNG regasification, which is expected to be fully operational by December 2021, Mr Moxey said.
BPL officials added that certain elements regarding the plant remained confidential due to a non-disclosure agreement signed by all parties.