The following was submitted to the Facebook Group Bajans Against $700M Waster to Energy Plant by a Mechanical Engineer.
My concerns are the true scale of the project, […]40MW, 60 MW, 70MW. Peak power demand in Barbados has averaged 125MW – 167MW over the last few years so this is 25 – 40% of the local electricity needs that can be supplied from this plant.
Light and Power has and Integrated Resource Plan where they have indicated a decommissioning schedule for equipment. What happens the day this plant has a failure and what are the contingencies in case that they cannot meet this demand? The document I read indicates that there will be no financial penalties in this regard. This is unacceptable.
What is the government’s plan for energy security in Barbados? Are there steps being taken for one comprehensive energy strategy instead of catching at every available technology that sounds good? Various documents and press releases over the years make mention of a landfill gas to energy and a smaller conventional waste to energy both part of a 25MW at Mangrove Pond Green Energy Complex, a 25 MW biomass to energy facility at Andrews using bagasse and river tamarind (this facility could also process the same king grass). How many of these plants are actually going to come into fruition or will we be left with some white elephants? Where do the smaller or utility scale traditional (solar/wind) renewable energy projects fit in this scheme?
Biomass and WTE plants are geared towards baseload generation as they don’t have any problems with intermittency as long as there is a constant supply of whatever feedstock is supplying the facility. So these large plants will want to be the preferred electricity suppliers to the grid. At what cost? Is the cost of electricity going to be higher per kwh to consumers that current fossil fuel generation?
EIA and Grid impact studies which the GOB has nobly decided to foot the bill, another poor decision. Cahill was shopping around for somewhere to base this plant why are they not also footing the bill for these studies?
Building capacity and knowledge transfer. Stantec is engaged for the EIA consulting, Hatch Mott McDonald engaged for the engineering consulting, JADA engaged for the construction. Any plans to engage and enlighten local engineers and machine shops who will be left to operate, maintain, fabricate parts for, God forbid they actually go ahead with this plant?
Any plans to ask for an opinion from the local engineering body? I see Engineer Gibbs and Franklin have both published pieces in the media. I know as professionals in a small society that persons may not be keen to voice their opinions, no one wants to be ostracized from getting work, but I think that it would be remiss of BAPE if they did not give some opinion on the matter.
I do not support the construction of a plant this size on an island this small. When it breaks down, because that is inevitable will the spares be on hand or will we have to wait for spares to be flown/shipped in? What happens to the operation then, what happens to the waste? What happens to decommissioned equipment from this plant?
Just a few thoughts which have possibly been shared before. This is no small undertaking and as an engineer I cannot be opposed to innovation and the introduction of new technology but usually it is done after consideration of the risks involved and the best option is usually a mature, commercially proven option not a gamble. The IADB has said in one report that we (Barbados) under