REPORT #404 April 2001
REGARDING ELECTRICAL POWER IN BELIZE


Produced by the Belize Development Trust

This message sent to the Bz-Culture Mailing List from Peter Singfield <snkm@btl.net>:


Hi Meb -- Peter here --

I have been following your series in the "Reporter" condemning the dam
project -- and can't agree with you more.

But -- you really need some input regarding the true options here.

Our solution stares us in the face. It is simple and easy to implement and
solves so many problems. But we do have one outstanding problem -- that
being the lack of engineering awareness of all people concerned with this
debate.

Let me quickly go over a few points.

The sugar industry is doomed here in Belize -- believe it! So for long term
-- forget bagasse.

Also -- we have quite a biomass reservoir in Citrus wastes -- but that to
is not viable long term.

We do have the economically sound option of tree farming our power.

As I pointed out in a "paper" dealing with self dependent electrical power
production for Belize 2.5 years ago -- a cane farmer can make the same
earning tree farming for biomass power production as growing cane --
actually -- double the present price he is getting for cane.

The advantages to our ecosystem are tremendous! Starting with replacing a
"chemical" intensive agro industry with forests.

Since I put that original "paper" together -- a lot of new technology has
come down the pipe-line. Efficiencies have greatly increased -- and prices
have went down. It is even more of a viable solution now.

Further -- the other proposal -- one you never did get to see -- concerning
gasohol production -- is also now more viable than ever -- as we are
beginning to get hit with steep price increases for gasoline. This also
allows us here in Belize to keep a smaller segment of the cane industry
alive and well. The Australians have developed a pond crystallization
process for sugar production that basically eliminates greater than 95% of
normal manufacturing infrastructure. The process results in just a 60%
sugar extraction -- rather than the 90 plus now seen in a modern sugar
factory -- but the balance not extracted is used for cattle feed. This
means we can at least stay self dependent in sugar production as well a
stopping importing fuel to operate vehicles.

But all these plans take years to implement. We need solutions now! True --
if we had started when I suggested -- 2.5 years back -- we would be OK now.

The quick solution that also makes great sense -- is the one just lately
applied (1995) at Puerto Cortez Honduras. 60 or so miles from where you are
staying. That is the huge Wartsila diesels that burn crude oil. They get
46.4% over all efficiencies -- which is incredible!! And are 100% pollution
free!!

Due to the high efficiencies and the much lower price of unrefined fuel --
Honduras is now producing power for less than 5 cents US per kwh -- with a
locked in  ceiling price for crude oil -- for the next 30 years -- of never
greater than $30 per barrel.

The Gensets used there come in 10 megawatt size and 8 of them are installed
for a total of 80 megawatts of power. I spoke with one of the reps a while
back -- and he would be happy to sell us power for 7 cents US per kwh -- if
we ran a cable over there.

As these plants cost less than $1000 per KWH capital costs -- it would be
cheaper for us to install our Wartsila gensets here rather than pay for
that cable!!

Also -- they come with their own financing -- so sign the bottom line and a
turn key plant is built. In the case of Puerto Cortez -- 5 months time!!

Plus Meb -- we do have many small pockets of oil in Belize that are
perfectly suited for fueling such a power plant -- but not large enough to
pay for a refinery. That would make our power production 100% self dependent!

Has the Belize disease finally got to you and your friends just like it
gets to everyone here?

That is a complete inability to study any problem in a scientific and
intelligent manner ---

I just know it has ---

So my advice -- just quite wasting bandwidth. This country is to
technically retarded to know what it is doing and will continue to despoil
itself on the way to total bankruptcy -- it is ordained! Politics -- not
technology and intelligent planning -- rules the roost in Belize.

I could have a stack of viable and intelligent solutions to our problems
regarding power production -- with honorable world class contractors and
suppliers listed -- on anyone's desk here in Belize in a matter of days.

Further -- for the non technically oriented -- I can supply endless lists
of working installations (starting with the diesel example -- just 60 miles
off the coast of Belize) where they can go look, touch and smell as well as
look over the "accounting" -- just so they can "believe".

2.5 years in the past -- I had done exactly that for free. All to no avail.
Why -- because this country is loaded with technical illiterates that
simply can't comprehend modern technology. Even just looking at facts and
figures showing intelligent solutions through the applications of state of
the art technologies for power production is beyond the mental capacities
of the powers that be here in Belize.

If Belize does not smarten up Meb -- and right away -- it is more than just
a short term loser -- it is finished for ever.

By the way -- a copy of a work sheet on those Wartsila power plants I put
out back then found its way to the Peten -- and they did install such!

Our solution is at least one Wartsila -- maybe two -- and then
concentrating on tree plantations furnishing a biomass fueled power plant
for all future needs. The large diesels being still viable as back-ups.

The good example of that is in Burlington, Vermont, USA.

The production of Gasohol from cane for vehicle fuel is such a well
established technology in Brazil it never ceases to amaze me just how blind
Belizeans can be. Blinder than any other nation of man on planet earth at
this time.

The importance of biomass fueled power plants and gasohol is that a large
segment of Belizean farmers stay viable. Only in such a technically
ignorant country such as Belize can the benefits from such a plan not be
understood. Plus we are talking of sharply reducing electrical power and
fuel costs for everyone.

I have appended some info on the Honduras Wartsila project.


Peter

***************appended**********

Example Plant - Puerto Cortes - Honduras


An 80 MW Power Master plant, owned by the independent power producer
Electricidad de Cortes S. de R.L, (ELCOSA), was installed in the city of
Puerto Cortes in Honduras. This Power Master Plant consists of eight
W”rtsil” 38 18-cylinder engines, each producing 10MW. The 80MW generated
are supplied direct to the national electricity corporation Empresa
Nacional de Energia Electricidad (ENEE), which, in turn, supplies
industries and private homes throughout the country.

Due to the fast-track construction of the plant, 24MW were already being
supplied to the grid within only five months of the ground-breaking
ceremony. Within the following year, the Power Master Plant grew to produce
60MW. The last 20MW were installed in spring 1995 after the demand for
power increased. This plant is the first privately owned and operated power
plant in Honduras.


 
Our solution   W”rtsil” NSD's ability to provide a tailor-made solution for
Honduras' fast-growing power needs was critical to the awarding of this
substantial contract. This Power Master plant contributed to the reduction
of power shortage in Honduras in 1994 and the prevention of insufficiencies
in 1995. The highly efficient W”rtsil” 38 is the heart of a co-ordinated
and integrated modular power plant. It works as a single cohesive unit to
ensure the highest availability and total reliability.

Each engine and its associated equipment modules form one of the eight
power-generating modules. The remaining equipment modules are
station-related. This allows for adding generation modules as power demand
grows. By following this method of construction, W”rtsil” NSD has created a
plant concept that is efficient to install (quick), operate (easy), and
maintain (available).

Result of the close relationship between the customer and W”rtsil” NSD is a
well-operated and maintained plant. Highly skilled personnel, trained and
supported by W”rtsil” NSD, now operates the plant successfully.



Back to Main Belize Development Trust Page

Maintained by Ray Auxillou, Silvia Pinzon, MLS, and Marty Casado. Please email with suggestions or additions for this Electronic Library of Belize.