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Ensuring Energy Security Print E-mail
( 3 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00

The Public Utilities Commission along with the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Belize Electricity Limited began a request for proposals for electricity generation in October of last year. BEL is looking for a provider or providers to supply 60 megawatts of firm capacity and 15 megawatts of renewable energy from intermittent sources. Investments in these power sources will run anywhere between 200 and 400 million Belize dollars.

After 8 months since the start of the exercise, the PUC publicly opened bids which have been received so far. The exercise took place at BEL’s corporate headquarters and was witnessed by representatives of bidding companies, representatives of the ministry, BEL, the PUC and the media. At the end there were 20 submissions each with its distinct type of energy source, company who will supply, cost of installation and cost of kilowatt hour to BEL.

Public Utilities Commission Chairman, John Avery, explained that there were bids for hydro electric projects, biomass projects that will use sugar cane bagasse, ethanol, and cuhune; there were also thermal projects that would burn natural gas, diesel or heavy fuels. There was one wind power proposal as well as multiple solar energy projects.

Avery says that BEL’ requirement is for 60 megawatts of energy to be added over a period of 10 to 15 years during which the supply may be increased in increments of 20 megawatts in two or three year intervals. There will also be 15 additional megawatts added from intermittent sources and the sources for this will be the first to be identified.

According to Avery, now that the bids have been opened there will be an evaluation process which would run up to September of this year after which negotiations will commence and be completed by December. The first facilities that will be put into operation will be as early as next year and more than likely these will be solar. 

“It Should be every country’s desire to become energy efficient.” Stated Avery; however, this does not mean that we will be doing away with the existing interconnection with Mexico since “it offers stability with our system,” he added.