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Prepa To Announce In June New Power Plant In Mayaguez

Agency Still Deciding Whether Government Or Private Sector Will Build Next Plant


Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.February 19, 2004

At least five companies have submitted proposals to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) for the construction of a new power plant in Mayaguez, according to Prepa Deputy Executive Director Hector M. Alejandro.

Alejandro said the agency is in the process of deciding which route to take on its next expansion: whether the government or the private sector should build the plant. The decision, he said, will be made by June.

Prepa currently has the capability to generate 5,359 megawatts (MW) of electricity, sufficient to meet the island’s energy needs. Part of this output (1,983 MW) is held as a reserve margin. Two private co-generation plants, EcoElectrica L.P. and AES, contribute 15% and 17%, respectively, of Prepa’s total power demand.

Prepa Executive Director Hector Rosario announced in 2003 that the public corporation was planning to build a new plant in Mayaguez and it probably would run on natural gas.

Alejandro said that based on the growth of demand for power on the island, Prepa needs to add 500 MW by fiscal year 2009. "We have to have the plant by that time," he said, adding that if Prepa decides the government should build the plant, it will go to the bond market to finance the project.

Among the companies that filed proposals is one of the two co-generation plants currently supplying Prepa, but Alejandro didn’t say which. He said that should the government decide to let the private sector carry out the project, the company will have to run the plant on gas because of Prepa’s interest in developing the use of natural gas in the island’s electrical system.

The decision to build the plant in Puerto Rico’s western region is based on a strategic plan that, said Alejandro, serves as Prepa’s compass and allows for continuity between government administrations.

"The plan encompasses the strategies of the past decades," said Alejandro. "Independent of which administration comes in, there is continuity. We don’t have the luxury of one administration doing something and another administration changing it. At the most, there can be some degree of adjustment. We must maintain the continuity of the decision-making process because projects take so long to develop."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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