Cap Cana invests US$2.7 million

The Dominican Republic has an energy goal: to reach 25% of the national energy supply from renewable sources by 2025, and 30% by 2030. In this sense, Cap Cana, as a tourist, real estate and hotel destination, estimates that in the next five years it will exceed both proportional figures in its generation park.

In statements to elDinero, Cap Cana executives and technicians indicated that due to the increase in the demand for real estate tourism in the area, the complex is in the process of expanding its solar park in conjunction with the company ENSO, belonging to the MARTÍ Group. The project involves an investment of more than US$20 million 750,000. It is the second phase of the photovoltaic project, which will have a capacity of three megawatts (MW) in addition to the 1.5 MW that were installed in 2021, which will reach 4.5 MW in 24 months.

In fact, they plan to invest more than US$20 million in the expansion of the power generation system, of which approximately US$17 million will be allocated to the installation of the electric motors. The expansion of the electrical system will involve some US$5 million over the next five years. This was explained by Cap Cana’s vice-president of Development and Operations, Héctor Baltazar.

“We are ahead of what is the commitment of the country, complying with the ordinance of the State and Government to meet this goal,” he said. The so-called destination city has an isolated system within the national network.

“As an isolated system, we are self-sufficient, that is, we manage the generation, distribution and commercialization of energy”, explained the technical director and head of the generation area of the Corporación Energética Turística Juanillo (Cenetur), Antonio Viloria. Meanwhile, Cenetur’s Director of Engineering and Commercialization, German Puello Donamaria, said that the “destination city” not only has plans to expand its projects.

At the same time, it is in the process of expanding two new engines for base generation. “We are going to start an expansion, which is the distribution part. Due to the magnitude of the city we need to start working with another voltage level to carry energy,” he added.

About this new extension, from ENSO, they propose the installation of 5,200 photovoltaic modules of 580 volts reaching a peak power of 3,051 MWp DC. This energy will be fed into the grid through 26 100.0 kW inverters, reaching a peak power of 2.6 MW.

Long-term investment

According to Baltazar, this boost to the generation of renewable energy sources, as well as the projects carried out in Cap Cana, are aligned with sustainability and the preservation of natural resources.

“We, as part of our social responsibility and sustainability, not only here, but in the Caribbean with the part of generating energy through solar panels, what we want is to go in the face of what the law and the system allows us in terms of growth,” he said.

At its moment of highest demand, the destination city handled about 17 MW. “Right now we have the peak because we are in a hot season; however, the average is 14 megawatts,” Viloria detailed.

They assure that the trend will continue to increase at the pace of construction in Cap Cana. The impulse to expand the solar panel field responds to the growth of the destination city. “We are already preparing. We are acquiring an additional 16 megawatts to maintain availability and also redundancy, that is, what we have to maintain ‘in house’, because there are scheduled and unscheduled maintenance shutdowns. So we have to guarantee the power supply”, he added.

Baltazar indicated that as a tourism project they would like to supply 100% with renewable energy, but “unfortunately, under this mechanism it is not possible to supply the project”. It is in this context where the reason for the 14 MW in Wartsila engines, which are intended for base generation, lies. “Cap Cana, as a tourism project, is committed to sustainability. We have to meet that environmental quota. Our engines are low emission, you can see a totally clean atmosphere and a healthy climate,” said Viloria.

The destination city, in its master plan, has an authorized and/or projected concession of 200 MW to supply the 124,000 rooms it has approved. Of that total, 7,500 are in operation and more than 3,000 are under construction.

“To attend those under construction, investments are being made, both in renewable energy and in primary generation,” said Baltazar. Puello Donamaria pointed out that it is conceived and designed from the beginning that the distribution system will be 34,000 volts. “This year we had the approval to start with the first circuit with a capital of US$3.5 million. We want to complete the project by 2024, then move on to investments directed to distribution and commercialization,” he commented.

These investments have allowed Cap Cana to have options available so that, in case any of the motors fail, the electric service will be maintained. “When a hotel businessman comes, the first thing he asks is ‘who supplies energy’, ‘what capacity do they have’. We have to be strong on this issue and guarantee that the energy service is world class,” he said.

He even assured that the efficiency of that energy and the constancy are “far above in terms of the amount or percentage of hours that energy service is received in the standard at national level. “We raise 99.99% of the energy,” he said.

Alliance

Baltazar detailed that thanks to the collaboration with companies such as Grupo MARTÍ, the challenges have been minimal. “They have been our supplier from day one with the panels we have installed and they continue to accompany us in this new expansion project,” he said. In that sense, he qualified the experience and logistics as “1A”.

As for the installation of the motors, they are working hand in hand with Wartsila. “It is perhaps the most renowned manufacturer in relation to electric generation engines. We are perhaps the only plant in the country, as well as in Central America, that has continued with the maintenance of these engines with the company that manufactured them”, he assured. This guarantees and maintains a standard in terms of operation, something that translates into safety for those who provide the service.

Emissions

The implementation of this project provides significant savings in the emission of carbon dioxide and atmospheric pollutants, estimated at more than 1,766 tons per year. This project is part of a strategy to produce energy in an environmentally friendly manner, making Cap Cana one of the first tourist destinations to embark on this type of initiative.

Cap Cana has an infrastructure of services of international standards that provides all its residents, guests and visitors with optimal facilities and amenities to enjoy a unique lifestyle.

It has one of the most robust and secure energy generation systems in the country. Its energy distribution system is more than 95% underground, a decision that guarantees greater security in the distribution of clean and stable energy. Viloria catalogued this fact as a luxury that they can offer to their users. “They also transfer what is quality and stability.”

Sustainability impact

According to Baltazar, the investments have impacted not only the sustainability of Cap Cana, but also the interest of foreigners and Dominicans. “It is exceedingly valued by visitors, guests and residents. The sustainability part has contributed to the development of the destination city as well.”

He also highlighted the water generation and treatment projects. “We have a treatment plant, which collects 100% of the wastewater in the project, we treat it and reincorporate it into the irrigation part, using 70% of that water in the irrigation of the golf course.” In other words, the golf courses of the “destination city” are supplied 100% with wastewater.

“So we can continue to raise other issues that we manage through the Cap Cana Foundation… In addition, we have an agreement signed with the Ministry of Environment for the Council of the Southeast Reefs Marine Sanctuary, which covers 10 kilometers of coastline in front of Cap Cana that are being managed by us…”

Likewise, the business group executes reef recovery plans and turtle care programs. Meanwhile, in the area of flora and fauna, they carry out projects with endemic species.

Investment in panels

Viloria sums up the expansion in a single sentence: “renewable energy is the immediate future”. Regarding the investment in panels, they consider the experience to be quite good because they have an injection of energy at zero cost.

“We take advantage of the goodness of the area and the sun. The idea is to continue growing in renewable energy, because it is not only solar, there is also wind power and other alternatives to produce or generate renewable energy. The idea is to depend less and less on fossil fuels”, he said.

Executives estimate a growth of 20% or 30% in the short term, or two years. This according to the entry of hotels and condominiums.

“We have to do some preliminary work to cope. We can’t wait for the demand to arrive. These are engines that take time to manufacture and install in operational conditions. Therefore, we are already preparing to meet the demand that we will have by the end of 2024.

Source: Eldinero.com

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