Will blackouts return in summer? Genera PR admits delays in plant repairs

Will blackouts return in summer?  Genera PR admits delays in plant repairs

Although some of the repair work on the main units of electricity generation have been delayed with respect to the previously outlined schedule, the vice president of Operations of Generate PR, Daniel Hernandez Moralesassured that The company will be able to increase the available capacity in time for next summer, when demand increases and, consequently, the risk of selective blackouts due to lack of production..

Among the plants that have not yet undergone repair is unit #6 of Costa Sur, in Guayanilla, which has remained in operation because the work in unit #5 of the same plant has not been completed. Unit #5 was originally anticipated to return to service by October 2023.

According to the engineer, The delay in repairs was due to the fact that the number of breaks identified in the boiler was greater than anticipated last July, when it went out for maintenance.

“(For the week of January 7 to 13), we hope to complete the repair of Costa Sur 5. It had been due for maintenance for more than a year when we came in (in July). We are already in the final stage of correcting breaks in the boiler, which had a considerable amount, and we are completing it. Initially, it will have a capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), (but) we are waiting for a pump to arrive at the end of January so that we can then raise it to the total capacity of around 410 MW,” said Hernandez Morales.

The return of Costa Sur #5, in turn, will allow unit #6 to be withdrawn for maintenance, as coordinated with LUMA Energy. The scheduled work on Costa Sur #6 was to be completed by early February, but is now expected to return to service in Marchaccurate.

Meanwhile, at the Aguirre plant, in Salinas, units #1 and #2 are out of service for various reasons. Hernandez Morales explained that unit #2 was turned off as an economy measure at the request of LUMA, given the reduction in demand in the winter months.

Unit #1, however, has been out of service since before the Hurricane Fionain September 2022. Although Genera PR hoped to return it to service by the end of 2023, Hernandez Morales acknowledged that faults found in the cooling system will postpone its restoration for at least an additional month.

“We all understand that this must be the reason why the system did not have sufficient capacity to be energized. The insulation tests on the generator did not present acceptable parameters and it was concluded that it is because of this ‘liquicity’ that the generator still has. We are in the process of working on it with the people at General Electric and, in the next three weeks, we should be completing the repair,” said the engineer about the unit with a nominal capacity of 450 MW, the largest in the system.

At the same time, the electrical system has been able to survive the departure of the two active units of the Palo Seco plant, in Toa Baja, due to the low demand in recent months. Although unit #3 of the plant should return in March, Unit #4 could remain out of service until 2025 as a result of damage to a part whose delivery time may be delayed by up to nine monthsstressed Hernandez Morales.

Although it is anticipated that, by the end of next year, several of the solar energy On a large scale, Hernandez Morales justified the need to repair Palo Seco #3, a plant with the capacity to produce 216 MW.

“It is base generation, in the north of the island, in the center where there is greater demand”he pointed.

Will blackouts return in summer?  Genera PR admits delays in plant repairs
(Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo)

“A very superior position”

At present, according to Hernandez Morales, the thermoelectric fleet that Genera PR operates has an available capacity of 2,241 MW, or 52% of the installed capacity. The objective, he said, is to bring this indicator to 65% for the summer months, which, added to the production of the cogenerators AES Puerto Rico, Guayamaand EcoElectrica, Penuelas, would avoid load relays during the period of highest consumptionwhen the demand may exceed 3,000 MW.

So far in January, the point of highest demand recorded reached 2,435 MW.

“It will put us in a much superior position than we were when Genera entered commercial operation”he stated, while emphasizing that, throughout 2024, the units of all the main plants will be phased out of service for the replacement of “critical components.”

This replacement project will extend until the end of 2025, since The federal government never agreed to double the temporary generation capacity it installed in the Palo Seco and San Juan plants from 350 MW to 700 MW.. Although it is expected that, starting in March, the Electric Power Authority start paying for fuel and the megagenerators remain on, Genera PR had projected that installations of critical components would be completed by the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, maintenance work on one of the AES units will be carried out in February, while the three EcoElectrica units will be released in March, which Hernandez Morales classified as the “normal” maintenance program for private generators.

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