PUC Chairman encourages renewable energy sources

Much of Belize’s power supply is obtained through fossil fuel sources – either Mexican power or that of the gas turbines at Blair Atoll and Mile 8 gas plant on the Western Highway – or hydro electric sources. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has been tasked with looking at proposals for alternative energy sources. Chairman John Avery tells us more.

John Avery – Chairman PUC:
vlcsnap-2013-05-07-19h59m51s76The PUC and the Ministry are in the process of conducting a request for proposals in which we’ll be inviting interested persons to bid to build additional generation capacity in Belize.  We’re proposing to add 20 megawatts in about three or four years and another 20 megawatts in another three or four years.  That’s firm capacity energy, energy that would be competitive in price and would have a fairly high reliability so that we can depend on them and we know that we can have stable prices going forward.   

The proposals are not limited specifically to renewable energy, but the PUC is looking that way, says Avery, because fossil fuels cost too much to generate electricity at affordable rates for Belizeans.

John Avery – Chairman PUC:
We certainly don’t want to be relying on fossil fuel generation facilities other than Natural Gas, if that can work, because the real reason why the cost of oil is so high right now is that that is the type of power source that we has to rely on over the last two years.  But in-country, meaning running the Atoll plant, and running BEL’s turbine at mile 8, and the excess power, the additional power we’ll be getting from Mexico, the reason the price is so high is because they have been giving us that supply from fossil fuel sources. Certainly we’d like to move away from that.  We will certainly encourage renewable energy sources, particularly those that provide additional jobs in Belize, and create additional economic activity in Belize

No timeline was put forward for the bidding process to take place. In the meantime the American Sugar Refiners (ASR) has promised to take up the slack with the BELCOGEN plant, which can provide up to 81 gigawatt-hours of power but only provides about 3/4 of that and only after improvements in production. The Green Tropics program in the Cayo District has also promised to pitch in when they are up and running.

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