Buying Energy from Bagasse for National Grid

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Updated: December 13, 2016

Santander Sugar Energy Limited, a subsidiary of The Santander Sugar Group completed its negotiation with Belize Electricity Limited last month in regards to its proposal to supply the country with energy. Today, a power purchase agreement was signed between the two bodies. Santander will now provide clean energy to the Belize’s electrical grid. The company has agreed to provide 16 Mega Watt per Hour of power by using bagasse, the byproduct of sugar cane. We were at the signing ceremony where the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, John Avery, BEL’s Senior Manager, Ernesto Gomez and Santander’s CEO, Jose Rodriguez all agreed that the agreement is beneficial to the Belizean public.

JOHN AVERY

“If you look at it in capacity in the drier months they will be supplying a little under 10% of the peak capacity. If you look at it in terms of energy right now just this first phase of hte project, if the second phase goes through then it will be closer to 20% of the capacity if not higher during those months, in terms of energy of this first phase we are saying anything between 18 to 25 million kilowatt hours BEL currently generates in the neighborhood of five hundred million kilowatt hours so we are talking about 5% of the energy.”

ERNESTO GOMEZ

“The uniqueness of this project is really assisting us in upgrading our management of power in the country. During the dry season we normally try to conserve water for emergency purpose in the hydroelectric reservoir in the dams. Well the production of this energy will right at the time when we really want to preserve the water for the full production of the dam so as a result it’s quite a compliment. We wish that the facility could have some good drys and extended production to cover more of the dry but coming in right in the middle of the dry is a good opportunity for us to manage the resources that we have in country and make the best of it so I think it compliments a lot with the mix of the other facilities that we have.”

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

“The power station that we built it’s based on the burning of bagasse with a boiler that burns the bagasse and produces steam at 600 psi then you get from the steam to move a turbine that moves a generator. We have an installed capacity of 16 megawatts which half of it is going to be used by the mill’s operation and the other half of it is going to be sold to the grid. Basically it’s a renewable source that we don’t burn any fossil fuels so it’s going to help the world to reduce the greenhouse gasses and it’s going to make Belize a country that is helping on that manner and also will be producing energy in Belize.”