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San Pedro Gas Turbine Station Experiences Major Issues, Delaying New Supply to Island

Belize Electricity Limited's new gas turbine station in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Belize Electricity Limited’s San Pedro’s gas turbine was set to come on stream mid-June to ease the demand for electricity from the mainline grid supplying the island, but after experiencing major difficulties, there will be setbacks. During the energization of the gas turbine, one of the transformers failed and it will need repairs before coming online.

All of this, while Belize’s electricity supply remains unstable, despite a recent reduction in load shedding and the onset of June rains. BEL Chairman Andrew Marshalleck has described the situation as “precarious,” citing significant issues with the gas turbine in San Pedro as a contributing factor.

Marshalleck explained that the gas turbine, which was expected to be operational by mid-June, has encountered major setbacks. “One of the transformers, I understand, when it was energized, it failed, it exploded or something, it needs to be dealt with, so it’ll set us back,” Marshalleck told 7 News of Belize City.

Belize Electricity Limited's new gas turbine station in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Gas Turbine Station Could be Delayed Months

When asked about the duration of the delay, he could not provide a specific timeline, emphasizing the complexities involved in acquiring and installing replacement equipment. Our sources indicate it could delay the project two to three extra months.

The electricity supply is anticipated to remain precarious through June and July. Marshalleck highlighted the narrow margin between available capacity and system demand, which leaves little room for error. “The possibility of something going wrong and falling short is real. That’s what I mean by precarious,” he noted. The chairman stressed the need for additional capacity to ensure redundancy and prevent supply disruptions when issues arise.

The current approach involves managing the limited capacity carefully and using the reservoirs sparingly. “We’ve been managing it because we know the reservoirs are low. We try not to use the dams for power. It’s only if something else cuts off, then we will turn it on and then it uses the water,” Marshalleck explained. The hope is that by September, with sufficient rainfall, the reservoirs will be replenished, stabilizing the electricity supply.

Until then, BEL and its customers face a challenging period, with the need for careful management and contingency planning to avoid further disruptions.

Belize Electricity Limited's new gas turbine station in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

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2 Responses

  1. efficient solar systems with the latest no maintenance batteries sourced direct from China are surprisingly cheap now… and available sun energy in Belize is hard to beat…private home and business solar roof systems need to be paid to feed the grid…a viable way to increase capacity in country without buying more megawatts from Mexico…simple formula…pay 60% of current kilowatt cost to BEL back to local providers…BEL still sells at market rate if they want…40% is a nice markup…aside from the workable numbers, capacity in a growing market would not be such a problem…hello GOB

  2. Have you thought about solar panels the amount of sun San Pedro gets. It’s amazing that you don’t have this as one of the contributing sources of power for the island.

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