APUA Looking At Ways To Increase It’s Generating Capacity

The Cabinet recently invited the General Manager and the Electricity Manager of APUA to report on their findings as related to the cost of implementing additional generation capacity—exclusively of renewable energy—at the APUA power facilities at Crabbes. The growth in the economy has caused the peak energy consumption of electricity to rise from 51 megawatts in 2014 to 59 megawatts today; given projections of further economic growth, the peak supply will rise to 67 megawatts or more in APUA’s 20-year projection. The APUA contracted with a consultant firm called Federal Capital that has experience in costing various energy-types and ascertaining their output, to cost renewable energy—such as solar, wind and other renewables—as against heavy fuel oils (HFOs). Surprisingly, the Cabinet learned that renewable energy systems, though declining in cost, remain a pricey alternative, especially because of the batteries required to store the electricity. There are two kinds of batteries. Type A, called intermittent supply type, is utilized to bring stability to the output of the solar farm when the sun is obscured by clouds and the output of the plant inexorably falls. Type B is used for storage when the sun shines, and to supply power at nights when there is no sunlight at all. They are distinctly different and are controlled by different computer systems. The consultants proposed a move to liquid natural gas (LNG) or liquid propane gas (LPG) in place of the heavy fuel oil (HFO) that is currently consumed by the power plants that provide electricity. Wind power is also a fairly costly alternative. The Minister of the Environment and the Chief Environment Officer questioned the accuracy of the figures presented by the consultants. It was agreed that additional and comparative costs will be presented to Cabinet in a week or two.

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