CUC testing new generator

As the Caribbean Utilities Company waits to hear if it will be awarded a tender to generate 32 megawatts of electricity, it is currently completing tests on a new generator at its headquarters.

The company is testing a new 16 megawatt large-bore, diesel engine, which cost $24.3 million, and plans to put the generator on line next month.

David Watler, vice president in charge of production at CUC, said the new generator would mean the utility company would continue to meet its customers’ needs.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority is expected to make a decision in the next week on whether CUC or Jamaica Energy Partners will be awarded the bid to supply and maintain the generation of 32 additional megawatts of electricity in Cayman by 2013 is expected this week.

‘There is a new ERA board so we expect a decision soon,’ said Mr. Watler.

‘We hope it will be handled fairly,’ he said, adding that CUC hoped its price and reliability would convince the board to award the bid to the Cayman-based company.

He said CUC has a 99.945 per cent service reliability.

Ten members of staff from the Danish contractor Burmeister & Wain have been working in Cayman with CUC to install and test the generator.

Soren Zdrinka Nannestad from Burmeister & Wain has been in Cayman for three months. ‘First we installed it, making sure everything like the wiring was in the right place. After one and a half months, we started the engine and now we’re doing a 30-day trial run,’ he said.

The project managers in charge of the new generator are Sacha Tibbetts, manager of engineering services, and Johnny Marcussen, production engineer.

CUC has generation capacity of 136 megawatts, and the new generator will increase that capacity to 152 megawatts. Its highest peak load was experienced in June this year when it reached 94.4 MW.

The company is required to have a minimum reserve margin of 35 per cent and a maximum reserve margin of 55 per cent to provide reliable service.

Last year, CUC signed an exclusive 20-year transmission and distribution licence and a new 21.5 year non-exclusive generation licence.