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Sun Utilities plant on track to save BPL $40 mil. annually

Sun Utilities is on track to save Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) $40 million in fuel costs annually, Freeport Oil Company Limited (FOCOL) President Dexter Adderley told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that Sun Utilities began supplying power to the grid from its new plant at Clifton Pier in mid-July.

Sun Utilities is a subsidiary of FOCOL. FOCOL supplies oil to BPL.

Adderley said the new Hyundai engines supplying 27 megawatts at the plant are performing as promised and are proving to be highly efficient.

He explained that the consultants who built the plant are in town this week to check on its progress.

“They are performing extremely well,” said Adderley. “They are very efficient and have us on track to being able to deliver $40 million in fuel savings for BPL and the country. We are extremely pleased with the equipment and we are continuing to work and expand on the functionality of the plant. That’s the purpose of the consultants’ visit.”

It is understood that BPL spends between $250 million and $300 million annually on fuel for its engines. It is also understood that the power utility spent significantly less while the fuel hedge was in place last year.

Adderley said Sun Utilities is also helping BPL to save money with propane burning engines at the Blue Hills power plant. He explained that propane prices are currently low.

“Propane, as it normally does in the summer, the prices are pretty low right now compared to the past six months to a year,” said Adderley.

“And that plant is fairly efficient as well and it is also saving BPL and its consumers a considerable amount of money.”

He said part of the solution to finding savings is being able to switch fuels as the price for each type fluctuates. 

Adderley said they are fortunate that right now propane prices have been low and the engines are able to burn the fuel.

“This is a stroke of good fortune,” he said.

Sun Utilities’ Wartsilla engines at BPL’s Blue Hills facility – supplying 16 megawatts of power – have been running since May 2021.

Minister of Public Works and Utilities Alfred Sears announced in June of this year that Sun Utilities would join the energy mix for New Providence.

Adderley said the equipment has been meeting and exceeding their expectations.

“Between these two [Clifton Pier and Blue Hills] the impact on BPL is very significant,” said Adderley.