Tons of seaweed force shutdown of major power plants in the Dominican Republic
Reported In The Economy Section of Dominican Today
July 27, 2018 | 2:44 pm
Dominican Republic’s power companies grouped in (ADIE) on Thurs. said more than 30 tons of seaweed forced the shutdown of the Itabo plants to purge the cooling system.
Despite the plants’ outage Wed. night the power companies said they were poised to supply 10% more energy than the demand. “The electricity that was consumed in the system during this period reached an accumulated value of 75.88 GWh. Therefore, there was an accumulated reserve of 7.64 GWh.”
In a statement, ADIE said that despite that the plants are equipped with [a] mechanism to prevent the entry of seaweed, “the enormous amount that reaches massively from the Sargasso Sea, located in the northern Atlantic, forced the interruption of the operation.
About the Italbo Power Plants*
The two-unit, subcritical Itabo plant has been operational since the 1980s; Unit I (128 MW) and II (132 MW) went online in 1984 and 1988, respectively. It is owned by Ege-Itabo, owned equally by the state-owned Generadora de Electricidad Itabo and AES Dominicana.
Proposed Shutdown of Units 1 & 2
In September 2014, Omar Ramírez Tejada, Executive Vice President of CNCCMDL (the Dominican National Council on Climate Change and Clean Development) was quoted as saying that Itabo I and II would be shut down as soon as the state-of-the-art 752 MW Punta Catalina coal plant commences operations in 2017, in accordance with United Nations clean energy requirements.
Unit 3 Expansion
In March 2013, the Dominican national electricity agency CDEEE (Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales) signed an agreement with AES Dominicana for the construction of a 300 MW, US$800 million third unit at Itabo, to be financed by a mix of public and private funds.
Itabo III, SRL, is listed as one of the many subsidiaries of AES.
As of January 2017, the Latin American business website BNAmericas stated that the Itabo III expansion was still “awaiting construction decision.”
However, as of January 2018, AES Dominicana only lists the Itabo I and II plants on its website, and makes no mention of the Itabo III project.
Meanwhile, scant press reports about Itabo III indicate that there has been no movement on the expansion project since 2013. A September 2015 article in Vanguardia del Pueblo noted that plant sponsor Ege-Itabo had not spoken about the project in more than two years, a September 2016 report in Revista 110 quoted energy expert José Luis Moreno San Juan as saying that the Dominican electrical sector would be stronger if the Itabo III plant had been built, implying that the project was no longer active, and an August 2017 report in El Caribe cites Itabo III’s demise as a direct consequence of the Dominican government’s backing of the much larger Punta Catalina coal project.
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