The Cayman Islands is now home to the most efficient diesel power plant in the region, Caribbean Utilities Company officials said Tuesday at the commissioning ceremony for a 40 megawatt generation expansion project.
A year and a half after entering into a design-build contract agreement with Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S and MAN Diesel & Turbo SE, the installation of two 18.5 MW V48/60 medium-speed generation units, a 2.7 MW steam turbine and associated auxiliary equipment, housed in a new building at CUC’s North Sound plant, is complete.
Officials from CUC, Burmeister & Wain and MAN celebrated the commissioning of the new generating units with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
Now that the generation expansion project has been completed, customers should experience more reliable service and fewer power cuts, according to Sacha Tibbetts, CUC’s vice president of customer service and technology.
“We were short on capacity before – we weren’t short to the point where it was not enough, but we had less than we have now,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “And we have these new units, brand new and reliable, so as a result we have the benefit of the excess capacity to serve the need. So, in general, it should be better.”
The approximately $85 million dollar project – the company’s largest capital project to date – will also help CUC produce energy at lower cost, according to the utility company.
“It’s one of the most efficient diesel power plants in the region, possibly the world,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “What that means is, for each unit of energy we’re using less fuel, which means that we would see a reduction in the amount of gallons needed to produce one kilowatt of energy, so that helps a lot with the fuel costs.”
The generation expansion is unlikely to have any effect on CUC customers’ bills.
In May, the company announced a 0.1 percent increase in the company’s base rate, adding approximately 11 cents to the typical monthly bill.
CUC President and CEO Richards Hew said the increase would support “ongoing investment in infrastructure necessary to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity service to all consumers,” and added that CUC’s base rates remain at or below most other utilities in the region.