Thursday, April 4, 2013

Preliminary report on blackout goes to Cabinet Thursday

Cabinet is on Thursday expected to receive a preliminary report on the Good Friday nationwide power outage.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine told the Senate on Tuesday the blackout was "waiting to happen" because of what he said were the inadequate infrastructure at the Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd (PPGPL) facility at Point Lisas and in the overall power generation system. 

The minister explained that the PPGPL plant supplies natural gas to all downstream users. He said the plant has an emergency bypass system comprising three lines with associated valves, two of which are operated by the National Gas Company (NGC) and one within PPGPL.

He said at 12.22 a.m. on March 29, the PPGPL emergency shutdown system was activated, resulting in the stoppage of gas flow through the plant. The bypass valve at PPGPL and both NGC valves opened, but “unusually high pressures” caused the PPGPL bypass valve to shut in, stopping the flow of gas through the PPGPL bypass line.

"I can now tell the Senate and the public that this deficiency in the design of the NGC bypass system will be rectified," Ramnarine promised.

Ramnarine explained that the sudden loss of gas flow caused the supply pressure to downstream users at Point Lisas “plummeted within minutes”. That caused the PowerGen plant at Point Lisas to shut down.

The same problem caused 
Trinity Power in Couva and the PowerGen plants in Penal and Port of Spain to "trip out". 

Ramnarine said he will submit to Cabinet on Thursday a preliminary report on the blackout. It would contain input from the companies involved.

The minister outlined some of the recommendations to strengthen the natural gas power electricity system:
  • Installation of dual fuel capacity at selected stations, so liquid fuel such as diesel would be in storage in event the natural gas supply is compromised
  • Installation of infrastructure to evacuate all the power that can be generated by Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) and bring the power to national grid. TGU has a capacity of 720 megawatts and currently supplying below 300 megawatts to T&TEC because of infrastructural constraints. The infrastructure required is two 220 kilovolt lines from La Brea and a new substation in Gandhi Village, Debe
  • Ensure every power plant in Trinidad and Tobago has a reliable “black-start” capability— this a system that allows a power plant to self-start
  • National Gas Company (NGC) to install additional bypass capacity so it will become “fully independent” of the PPGPL bypass system

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai