The Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte, affirmed this Wednesday that the authorities of the electricity sector are working to guarantee to the Dominican society the supply of electricity in sufficient quantity to meet the demand and at affordable prices for the population.
During a press conference, Mr. Almonte explained that, after almost a year of stability in the energy supply in the country, there have been events that have affected the electric service and he cited the price increase and the delay on the part of the coal supplier of the Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant.
In addition to this, the minister added that last July the only supplier of natural gas, AES Andres, was temporarily unable to continue importing this fuel into the country due to a major accident at the plant of its supplier in the United States.
“This situation caused the shutdown for a few days of some of our main generation plants that are supplied with gas by AES,” he said.
He expressed that the coincidence in the output of some gas plants supplied by AES and the difficulties with coal for Punta Catalina have generated a strong stress in the generation supply.
“We are in negotiations for the solution of these problems. In the case of Punta Catalina, we have already launched an urgent tender for the purchase of coal and we have been arranging coal purchases to guarantee that Punta Catalina will continue producing, as it is doing today, at full capacity,” the minister said.
He said that with the urgent tender that has been launched, they are seeking to acquire around 500,000 tons of coal, which would be sufficient until a new contract to supply coal to the plant comes into force so that it can operate without interruptions.
“All these efforts, all these negotiations that we are making, have the purpose of maintaining stable the electric service in the country so that the Dominican people have peace of mind,” he said.
He said that the government headed by President Luis Abinader is aware of the challenges ahead and for that reason launched on March 12, 2021 an international public tender for the contracting of power and energy up to 800 MW of natural gas-based plants planned to start construction next year in Manzanillo, Montecristi.
“As can be seen, we are working so that the country has an abundant supply of clean energy at the lowest possible cost within the framework of our condition as a country that has no fuel deposits,” he said.
Almonte was accompanied by Andrés Astacio, vice-president of the Unified Council of the EDEs and administrator of Edeeste; Serafín Canario, administrator of the Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant; Martin Robles, administrator of the Dominican Electricity Transmission Company (ETED), and Rafael Salazar, administrator of the Dominican Electricity Generation Company (EGEHID).
He was also accompanied by Deputy Ministers Rafael Gómez, of Energy; Miguel Díaz, of Mines; Walkiria Caamaño, of Hydrocarbons and Chief of Staff; Alfonso Rodríguez, of Energy Saving and Efficiency, and Fausto Pérez, of Energy Security. Also present were Edward Veras, director of the National Energy Commission, Martin Robles, ETED administrator, George Reynoso, executive director of the Unified Council and the administrators of Edesur, Milton Morrison and Andres Cueto, of Edenorte.