HAGÅTÑA — The Guam Power Authority is hoping to see a new power plant built by 2021 to meet the increasing demands and replace the fast-aging units that will be retiring in four years.
Utility officials say the 180-megawatt power plant, to be built on a 60-acre property Dededo, is designed to use ultra-low-sulfur diesel and natural gas, eliminating the need for dirty fuel.
GPA general manager John Benavente said the existing power plants "do not meet US EPA and Guam EPA clean air and water standards" and are "more costly and complex to operate."
CCU and GPA are awaiting the Legislature's action on the rezoning of the proposed project site.
Joseph Duenas, chairman of the Commission on Consolidated Utilities, said once the property is rezoned, GPA will issue the bid for prospective independent power producers interested in undertaking the build-operate-transfer project.
The new power plant will serve Guam's 51,000 customers, Benavente said.
GPA's existing units had a total capacity of 408MW, including baseload and emergency capacity. In 2017, the current baseload capacity of 208MW was short of the 261 MW peak demand.
By 2021, peak demand is expected to go up to 283MW, which the proposed new power plant will be able to meet.
"Without a new power plant by 2021," Benavente said, "GPA will not be able to meet the demand."
Unlike the existing units which are susceptible to tsunami and storm surges, Benavente said the proposed power plant is designed to withstand natural disasters.
GPA currently spends an average of $100 million a year on fuel, depending on market prices.
"The wild swing in fuel prices results in unsteady fuel-recovery charges," Benavente said. "The new baseload plan will use diverse fuel and energy sources that will result in stable fuel-recovery charges."
The proposed site of the project is in the neighborhood of the Guam Regional Medical City.
"The new plant can co-exist with GRMC as it does in many communities in the nation, especially since power reliability at the hospital is critical to patient care," Benavente said.