Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Preliminary report on nationwide blackout expected by Thursday; no evidence of sabotage

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine meeting Monday with officials
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine met on Monday with officials of Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited, National Gas Company (NGC), PowerGen, Trinidad Generation Unlimited and the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (TTEC). 

The meeting at the energy ministry was to discuss the Good Friday blackout in preparation for a preliminary report to be submitted to cabinet on Thursday. The report would also contain recommendations to improve the gas, power and electricity sectors.

Ramnarine has said the initial assessment of the incident was that a single valve malfunctioned. However, he expects to get a clearer picture from the investigation.

Commenting after Monday's meeting Ramnarine said there is no evidence of sabotage. "The root cause of the problem resides in the by-pass valve system that is operated by Phoenix Park gas processors Ltd and the national gas company. Both companies have been mandated to examine that system, with the view of upgrading that system to ensure that it never happens again,” Ramnarine said.
He added that companies and agencies involved have either completed or are in the process of completing their reports on the blackout. 

Ramnarine said one main recommendation is to increase the role of the Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) power plant at La Brea in supplying electricity to the nation.

He said: “The TGU power plant is designed as the most modern, cutting-edge power plant in the Caribbean. It is designed to do 720 megawatts of power. Right now because of constraints with transmission lines, et cetera, it is only doing about 260. 

"One of the recommendations coming from the meeting is that TGU has to be put in a position where it can supply all of its power to the country. It is not only important from an energy security point of view, but it is from an economic point of view. 

"It is the most efficient power plant as it uses a lower amount of natural gas to produce the same unit of electricity, as compared to other power plants in the country.” 

Ramnarine said another recommendation is to introduce dual fuel power plants in Trinidad, as well as using alternative power sources such as solar and wind energy.

“The night we had the blackout, I was driving along the highway and the only lights that were available were the lights of the surveillance bays which are solar-powered,” said the Energy Minister. “There are already tax incentives for persons with solar energy products, and alternative energy and so on. I think it is taking root.”

He said studies have been done to introduce wind farms to produce electricity. "Without even a study, we know the best areas are Manzanilla and Mayaro where there are lots of constant wind...What this event has also shown us is the importance of diversifying away from fossil fuels,” Ramnarine said.

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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