The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) is expected to save $5 million a month in fuel costs, with the changeover of the diesel-fuelled power plant at the Cove facility in Tobago to natural gas.
Yesterday marked the commemorative ceremony for the overhaul and natural gas commissioning at the Cove Power Plant.
Minister of Public Utilities Nizam Baksh said the commissioning formed a critical role in the relationship between citizens and T&TEC. “This plant is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, to not only improve the reliability and quality of your electricity supply, but to also increase the network’s capacity to meet growing load demands, while at the same time decreasing the impact of its operations on the environment,” Baksh said.
The Cove Power Plant has a reciprocating engine, in that it can move back and forth between natural gas and diesel as the need arises. Tobagonians are being given the assurance if the gas supply is interrupted, the electricity supply will be sustained.
The shift to natural gas will also lower the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted during power generation.
That decrease in air pollution is amplified by the plant’s design, which enables combined cycle generation.
“The technicalities of the process may be lost on the average person, but the results cannot be ignored – a reduction of carbon emissions by approximately one million tonnes per year,” Baksh said.
General manager of T&TEC Kelvin Ramsook said this development at the plant will also include a collaboration with the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).
“Our emergency simulation included a safe shutdown of the plant in the case of a natural gas leak within the facility. We will also strengthen our links with the Disaster Management Agency in Tobago as we work to ensure the protection of all employees and residents,” Ramsook said. The plant was commissioned in October of 2009 and employs 46 people.