The Barbados Light & Power Company has agreed to urgently add another 15 megawatts of generating capacity to the national grid, as it attempts to guarantee its capacity in the wake of daily blackouts early last week, the Government said tonight.
The extra power, to be made available over the next two days, is in addition to the temporary 12-megawatt generating plant which is already on a ship headed to Barbados from Panama and could be online ten days before Christmas.
The agreement was struck when Light and Power executives met with Prime Minister Mia Mottley and ministers at Parliament, along with officials of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC), the Fair Trading Commission and advisers.
BL&P announced it is committed to completing the procurement of this additional generating equipment over the next 48 hours, and to having the generators in the island by Christmas.
The rented plant from Panama is due to arrive on December 5 and Light and Power personnel have already begun preparations to ensure it is installed and commissioned by December 15, the power company said.
In an additional announcement, Light and Power revealed that on Wednesday it is to proceed immediately to procure four new generators to provide 33 megawatts of power. These new dynamos, costing more than $100 million, will burn cheaper heavy fuel but have the capacity to be retrofitted for natural gas.
According to Prime Minister Mottley, BL&P has committed to doing this retrofitting early in the life of this equipment to ensure it conforms to the national policy of a 100 per cent carbon-neutral power generation environment by 2030.
The Prime Minister declared: “These acquisitions by BL&P will go a long way toward the immediate and long-term stabilising of the island’s electricity generating capacity and rebuilding the confidence of Barbadians in the company at this very critical time.”
Since last week’s outages, Light and Power brought in temporary crews from The Bahamas and Korea to restore excess capacity as a backup.
While the island’s peak demand stands at approximately 145 megawatts, the company’s current generating capacity is back up to 247 megawatts, the company said.