Last month concluded the emergency bidding process (LPI-EDE-02-2021) to install 400 new megawatts (400MW) to the national electricity system. The process was launched on December 1, 2021.
This tender was declared urgent in order to ensure that before October of this year energy is injected into the system from medium-sized generating units based on barges and also modular plants already enabled for rapid installation on land, which would add up to 400 megawatts.
As a result of this tender, the new generating units will begin to be installed and produce gradually starting next June, with a completion date to reach maximum production next October.
The urgency is due to the fact that the generation park received in August 2020 was clearly in deficit, since if the maximum energy demand was supplied, the remaining reserve was less than 5%, that is, a capacity so small that any repair or maintenance of a plant during the summer period would undoubtedly result in blackouts due to a deficit of available installed capacity. This situation is a clear threat to the welfare of the population and to the recovery and growth of the economy.
That situation had been pointed out in 2018 by a study commissioned by the CDEEE itself to the Argentine firm Mercados Energéticos, which showed the need to install a 600 MW generating plant based on natural gas in 2021 and another one also of 600 MW in 2023. In addition, the study indicated that annually the country should install 300 MW of renewable energies divided into 150 MW solar and 150 MW wind, these details were offered by the Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte.
Unfortunately, the previous government, despite being aware of such a delicate situation, did not seek any solution nor did it order the pertinent bids to install the indicated natural gas generators, nor did it order the renewables.
This lack of generation reserve has been the effective cause of the recent blackouts provoked by the departure of the generator AES Andres, for repair purposes, and Punta Catalina 1 for maintenance.
President Luis Abinader, a few months after coming to power ordered the bidding process LPI-EDES-01-2021, launched in February 2021 to build two plants of 400 MW each and a terminal for unloading and storage of natural gas on the coast of Manzanillo, Monte Cristi. The bidding process will be completed by the end of June with the awarding of the winning bids.
In addition, in January of this year another mid-term tender was launched also for 800 MW (LPI-EDES-003-2022), which is expected to be finalized and awarded before September 2022.
In short, this government is doing something historic in terms of electricity generation in the country, which is to provide the nation with about 2 thousand new megawatts of power that will be installed partly in 2022, and the rest before the end of 2025 and 2026.
With this new capacity, our power generation park will be renewed and we will also have for the first time an additional plant capacity or reserve available to start operating immediately, in case any power plant goes out of operation for urgent repairs or for minor or major routine maintenance.
This reserve is known as the system’s cold reserve and with these plans it will be around 15% of the maximum annual demand.
In addition to these new generation facilities, hundreds of megawatts of solar and wind energy will be added, which have already begun to be installed throughout the country.
To support and make all this new energy viable, the government has initiated, through the Dominican Electricity Transmission Company (ETED), an extensive plan for the expansion of high voltage networks and substations in the southern, northern and eastern regions of the country.
This type of strategic planning and concrete actions have never before been carried out by any government in the Dominican Republic.