GPL updates Region Three about its improvement plans

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, September 29, 2018

Residents of Region Three, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara were recently updated by representatives of the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL Inc.) about plans to upgrade the power company’s delivery of service.

The power utility has recently signed an agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for a $4.2Billion loan as part of the utility company’s Upgrade Programme, a component of its development and Expansion Programme for 2014 to 2021.

Stakeholders and Professor Isirdo Vbaldo Espinasu (standing) at the consultation process.

Part of the IsDB financing will be used to fund works at the GPL Kingston and Vreed-en-Hoop power stations. Since there will likely be an impact felt both socially and environmentally and also to satisfy the requirements for the loan, GPL has to submit an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report (ESIA).

The consultant conducting the ESIA for GPL, Professor Isirdo Vbaldo Espinasu met with the stakeholders of the Vreed-en-Hoop Power Station including the business community, government agencies, residents, parents and teachers in an effort to inform them of the possible disturbances that will occur when work commences and how the disturbances will be remedied.

As pointed out by stakeholders, some of the environmental issues would be air and noise pollution, Land Acquisition, removal of trees and obstruction of passage. Professor Espinasu indicated that mitigation measures include the use of low emission vehicles, water sprinkling, use of noise reduction machines, avoidance of land acquisition as much as possible – if impossible compensate owners and installation of warning signs.

Professor Espinasu also gave a brief overview of the issue affecting the utility company. Stakeholders were told that inn 2014, GPL commissioned a new 26MW power plant at Vreed-en-Hoop West Bank Demerara. According to the consultant, “The new facility was erected to address issues such as the growing demands for electricity in the Demerara/Berbice Interconnected System, frequency conversion of Demerara Power No. 2 (DP2) Kingston, retirement of Demerara Power No. 1 (DP1) Garden of Eden and strategic placement of generation to ensure that as maintenance is undertaken in the future on the transmission system, it has the ability to still deliver power in East and West Demerara and East Berbice.”

Professor Espinasu further explained that the new power plant, back then, was designed to have a total of four feeders emanating from the Station Bus. Two of which would have been linked directly to the existing West Bank and West Coast Feeders. The remaining two feeders would have been connected to each of the two 69/13.8KV set-up transformers in the existing Substation Compound.

He pointed out that the standard operation of the Vreed en Hoop Substation requires a feed from the 69KV Substation, however “as a result of the inadequate feed on the 69/13.8KV Transformer Bushing of T1 to accommodate extra cables emanating from the substation, the output from the power plant takes precedence over the substation in order to make this power available to the 69KV network for transmission,” the consultant said.

This configuration, Prof. Espinasu explained, leaves the Vreed-en-Hoop Substation out of power, and all distribution feeders would have been diverted to the power station bus bar. However due to very high circulation ground current the earthing transformer on the power plant bus cannot handle this loading, therefore, power had to be diverted to the Vreed en Hoop Substation 13.8KV bus bar where the grounding transformer can handle a larger circulating neutral current. According to Prof. Espinasu, this situation limits the output to the feeders on the West Bank and Coast, as a result of cable rating restriction, as well as restriction on the 13.8KV breaker within the substation.

Having apprised the stakeholders of the issues, the consultant then laid out the solution. He explained that remedial works will add flexibility to the transmission 69KV network, where it will provide an additional step-up transformer of similar capacity 20 MVAR, 13.8KV/69KV from which the Vreed-en-Hoop Substation can be supplied as originally design to operate. Also, all feeders will be disconnected from the generator bus, hence eliminating the need for a grounding transformer which causes several voltage transients if not adequately sized, and may eventually result in insulation breakdown of the generator unit. The Vreed-en-Hoop Substation will have the availability of more than one feeder cubicle to feed into the 13.8KV distribution networks since the tie from the power plant will no longer be necessary.

The benefits of the project once completed will allow for the efficient use of substation as a point of distribution to supply power to costumers; reduction in outages due to configuration issues; improved system stability; improved voltage regulation; more flexibility for maintenance of the critical 69KV link and Power Plant and better reliability for the Demerara/Berbice Interconnected System.

Story and Image: Gamesh Mahipaul.

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