Gonzales: New circuit to lessen likelihood of islandwide blackout

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Citizens can expect improved reliability in their electricity supply, following the completion of a second circuit to allow the transfer of bulk power from the Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) Power Plant.

The additional circuit will provide the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) with the capacity to receive the full 720 MW of power produced by the TGU Power Plant.

TGU, an Independent Power Producer (IPP), provides approximately 50 per cent of the country’s power.

PowerGen and ContourGlobal-Trinity Power are the other IPPs.

The $72 million project to construct a second 220 kV double circuit tower line from Union Estate Substation to Gandhi Village Substation was commissioned on Tuesday at T&TEC’s Union Substation in La Brea.

It’s expected to add further stability and reliability to the national electricity grid.

According to T&TEC, the project carries several benefits to the country, including:

1.Redundancy: The completion of the second circuit builds redundancy into the Commission’s transmission system which means that if there was a failure on the existing circuit (as happened on February 16 2022), the national grid would still be able to receive power from the TGU Plant. Building redundancy into the grid was one of the recommendations made by the Cabinet-appointed Committee that investigated the causes of that island-wide power outage.

2. Gas Savings: By allowing T&TEC to access and transmit all of the power produced by TGU, this circuit will provide Trinidad and Tobago with significant cost savings. This is due to the higher efficiency of the technology used by the TGU plant, where more power is produced with less gas, compared to the other power plants in operation. The second circuit tower line re-establishes the Union Estate-Brechin Castle 220 kV double circuit tower line and the Union Estate – Gandhi Village 220 kV double circuit tower line, which will allow for power to be transferred from the TGU Plant directly to two of the Commission’s main substations, i.e. Gandhi Village Substation in the south and Brechin Castle Substation in central Trinidad, which interconnects to north and east.

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales noted that the critical final stage of the two-year project, repositioning the lines, was completed on Monday (April 17) after four days of work. There was no interruption in supply to customers during that time, he said.

He recalled the February 2022 outage and noted that customers will benefit immensely from the redundancy afforded by the new lines.

He congratulated T&TEC for the work being done in the country’s electricity sector.

“We will continue to work together to ensure that as we move T&T forward, the utility sector will play the role required so we can have a quality of life that is second to none,” he said.

Minister Gonzales was joined by T&TEC Chairman, Romney Thomas, and under the direction of T&TEC’s engineers, operated the switches to energise the lines.  At 11:30 am, 220 kV of electricity flowed from the Union Substation to the Gandhi and Brechin Castle Substations.



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