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Hydroelectric dams near empty, potential blackouts again?

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2024. 8:55 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Belize’s 3 major dams are near empty and without substantial rainfall within the next few weeks, Belize could find itself grappling with another bout of severe power rationing.

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman of BEL, confirmed that the Fortis Dams in the Cayo District, which contribute nearly 50 megawatts of power to the national grid, are left with just three weeks’ worth of water.

This scarcity arises from a mix of factors including an extended dry spell, inadequate rainfall, and heightened dependence on hydroelectricity during recent power shortages.

The situation is concerning especially given that the dams’ output surpasses that of the recently upgraded gas turbine, highlighting the potential strain on the power infrastructure if the dams run dry.

The recent breakdown of the gas turbine resulted in widespread power disruptions.

Though there’s a glimmer of hope for increased rainfall in the upcoming weeks, Chief Meteorological Officer Ronald Gordon cautioned about the uncertainty surrounding long-term forecasts.

He hinted at a potential uptick in moisture from next week Thursday onwards, stretching into the first weekend of June.

At present, Belizeans are urged to conserve energy and brace themselves for the prospect of further power rationing if it doesn’t rain.

 

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