Wednesday, May 22, 2024

BEL Encourages Energy Conservation during Critical Generation Upgrade and Hot and Humid Weather Conditions

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Press Release – Belize City, Belize – April 11, 2024 – As part of our long-term plan to bolster system capacity and reliability and build a modern energy services infrastructure, our Generation Team, in conjunction with a team of engineers and technicians from General Electric (USA), has commenced works to upgrade the capacity of the Gas Turbine at BEL’s West Lake facility (Mile 8 George Price Highway) to 30 MW from its current maximum output of 19 MW.
The benefits of this upgrade for our Customers include:
• Increase of 11 MW in overall generation capacity to meet the growing energy use of our Customers.
• Additional (11.5%) backup in-country generation capacity in case of loss of supply from CFE (Mexico).
• Improved reliability of power supply to the grid.
• Enhanced flexibility of the Gas Turbine to utilize cheaper alternative fuel sources to help
lower the cost of generation.
The works are scheduled to be completed by Sunday, May 5, 2024, and the Westlake Gas Turbine will be unavailable throughout this time. As a result, total in-country generation capacity available to the interconnected system will be reduced to 85 MW, supported by 55 MW from CFE, Mexico, for a total available generation capacity of 140 MW.
Daily demand for energy for the duration of the upgrade is projected to increase from 85 MW around 6:00 am in the morning and increase gradually to between 115 MW and 130 MW during the peak hours (from midday to 7:00 pm) and then gradually decrease to 85 MW around 1:00 am in the early morning. This means that, until the upgrade works are completed, BEL will be completely dependent on the supply from CFE, Mexico to meet demand during these times of the day, and the loss of supply from CFE or any other generation unit will likely result in significant power interruptions.
We are asking our Customers to assist us by implementing energy conservation measures, where possible, to avoid exceeding the capacity of the available power supply sources, especially during the peak demand hours and hot and humid weather conditions.
The upgrade of the West Lake Gas Turbine is being supplemented by the installation of a Gas Turbine on Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) which is expected to be completed by mid-May. This will add a further 20 MW of in-country generation capacity into the system, which will place us in a much better position to meet demand for electricity especially during the ‘summer’ months of May through August and into 2025 when additional generation capacity is expected to be brought online.
We thank our Customers and the public for their understanding and cooperation as we continue to make every effort to maintain stable and reliable electricity supply to all our service areas throughout our country.

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