EDITOR, The Tribune.
I can only sum up the current affairs of BEC/BPL, as a fiasco. According to the BPL union leader, there are too many unanswered questions surrounding this new power plant deal. BEC, a company once profitable enough to provide loans to the government, has operated in the red for over 20+ years. Their downfall is a direct result of greed (e.g. BEC/Alstom bribery), political interference and incompetence from political appointees. Under this administration, it seems nothing has changed.
So here we have it, another company received a contract from the government and yet again, without it going to tender. This smells like another back-door deal, where the technocrats, the operators and Union of BEC are never consulted. To add further insult (similar to the Oban signing), a foreigner sat next to government officials and said (indirectly) that Bahamians are not competent enough to run the new power plant. So, I ask why all the secrecy?
Considering the government’s lack of transparency, I decided to research the company and the engines they produced.
a. Jan 2019, (Reuters) – “Finnish ship technology and power-plant maker Wartsila said it would shed 1,200 jobs, six percent of its workforce, to save 100 million euros a year by the end of 2020”. This is not looked at as a serious financial issue.
b. The company produces one tri fuel engine, the Wärtsilä 50DF and one dual fuel engine, the Wärtsilä 34DF.
c. I also did a price per megawatt comparison between an Australian based power company and BPL. Both companies will be using Wärtsilä’s 50DF, tri fuel, four-stroke engine that runs on light fuel oil (LFO) or heavy fuel oil (HFO), and can switch over from gas to LFO/HFO.
In 2018, Wärtsilä was chosen to supply a 211 MW Smart Power Generation plant, comprising 12 Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines, to the customer, AGL Energy Limited, of South Australia. The order with Wärtsilä, is valued over 100 M€ or $111.86 million dollars. Not knowing the details of this contract, it’s easy to assume this company is purchasing each generator for an average $9.3 million dollars (each generating average 17.5MW of power or $530,000 per MW)
BPL to receive 7 tri fuel (light fuel oil, heavy fuel oil and Gas) high-efficiency engines from the Finnish technology group Wartsila. These engines will provide BPL with 132-megawatt power at the Clifton Pier Plant. The estimate cost of the new power plant is $95 million dollars. Not knowing the details of this contract, it’s easy to assume BPL purchased each generator for an average $13.5 million dollars (each generating average 18.8MW of power or $718,000 per MW)
With my limited knowledge of the industry, I have few questions.
i. What is the Total Overnight Capital Cost?
ii. Why does it appear we are paying $200,000 more per Mega Watt than Australia, especially for the same type engines? Australia paying $111 million for 12 engines, vs our $95 million for 7 engines.
iii. Why are we paying for these engines and not Shell that was picked to build our power plant under their agreement with the government?
iv. Why is the government still seeking to use Bunker C or Heavy Fuel Oil?
v. Why are we still installing internal combustion engines?
KISHON R TURNER,
March 7, 2019