P.U.C. recommends 6 energy projects for B.E.L. negotiation

Public Utilities Commission

Public Utilities Commission

Friday, March 6, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: Today the Public Utilities Commission, PUC, released its final evaluation report for the 2013 request for proposals for energy generation exercise.

From a field of more than 20 bidders in the areas of both firm and intermittent capacity a total of 11 projects advanced to the final stage where they were subjected to theoretical analysis of how they would fit into the Belizean electrical grid.

Of these proposals two were withdrawn leaving a proposed solar generation project by Blair Atoll Power Company Limited the sole bidder in the area of intermittent capacity.

Its proposal was subsequently approved along with a separate proposal for the installation of a third generator at its Placencia plant to provide around the clock capacity for BEL.

John Avery (Chairman, PUC)

John Avery
(Chairman, PUC)

According to PUC chairman John Avery Belize’s energy future looks primarily to co-generation and hydro electricity projects as these provide the greatest source of national development in spite of their challenges.

Thus the PUC recommends that projects be sponsored by Southern Renewable Energy Limited to be on the Macal River in the Cayo District and on the Swasey River in the Toledo district be sent for negotiation.

Additionally it approved co-generation projects sponsored by GSR energy in the north and SS Energy which is a sister company to Green Tropics Limited under the banner of Santander Sugar  in the west.

The Blair Atoll and SS energy projects are expected to be fast-tracked to address immediate problems in maintaining firm capacity for electricity in the dry season.

On average Belize gets most of its energy from Mexico’s CFE and existing Hydro projects on the Macal River but those projects are known to be unreliable in the dry season.

Avery says that the PUC wishes to ensure that costs to consumers are ultimately lower and that electricity supply can be maintained when power from Mexico is lost.

Other projects including the proposal by Cohune Energy Limited for harvesting eucalyptus plants for co-generation were deemed not in line with current government policy and so the PUC declined to advance them.

The PUC obtained comments from the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities and other interested parties.

They will now inform the winning bidders of their decision paving the way for negotiations with the power provider.

According to Avery the decision was not influenced in any way by political expediency.

In fact, today’s presentation had been postponed from prior to the municipal elections to avoid, according to Avery, any chance of political mischief.

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