BEL addresses countrywide power supply issues; plans to become more independent
Wednesday, June 1st, 2022
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) announced its plans to depend less on Mexico’s power supply on Tuesday, May 31st, after a lengthy power outage on Friday, May 27th. The country purchases electricity from the neighboring northern country, and often when there are electrical problems in Mexico, Belize is affected.
The plan shared by BEL is to depend more on renewable energy sources to reduce the reliance on power from the Mexican provider, Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE). On Friday, the power outage took place minutes to 4PM and lasted for about two hours in areas like San Pedro Town. According to BEL’s distribution planning and engineering manager, Karique Marin, the lengthy power interruption was caused by a fault on the Yucatan grid in Mexico. Marin said the defect caused load shedding on the Belizean grid.
While BEL tried to restore power to the affected areas across Belize, the amount of energy it obtains from independent producers in the country could not handle the load. Belize receives over 50% of its power supply from independent local producers. This is a mix of renewable and non-renewable sources such as hydro, biomass, fossil fuel, and solar.
Marin explained that the loss of power took longer to restore because they had issues with the Vaca hydro plant and a gas turbine. With the local supplies and the hydropower input, the company was able to restore the country’s power before connecting back to CFE. According to Marin, the hydro supply was being conserved.
BEL will re-configure the system to rely more on Belizean power supply to avoid similar events in the future. This change in power configuration will prevent outages, ensuring reliability and a faster recovery when the power grid in Mexico experiences interruptions.
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