Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL) says residents should experience fewer power outages as the first phase of upgrades at the power plant is completed. With the restoration of a portion of solar capability and better fuel management, the aim is to help residents save costs on their bills. This should improve even more once full solar capacity is achieved.
Sean Hartley, of Amandla Engineering Inc. out of Tortola, conducted a site survey with MUL from 24-26 March 2022. He submitted a draft report on 6 April 2022, proposing solutions to the generation network, communications and controls infrastructure. Mr. Hartley returned to the island on 14 July 2022 to lead the upgrades to the generating assets at the MUL power plant. He worked closely with and provided training for key MUL technical staff to build capability to manage the new system.
Having successfully completed the first phase of upgrades, Mr. Hartley left the island on 25 July 2022. This entailed upgrading the controller for the main medium speed generator and the integration of the newest high-speed generator, to the load sharing communications bus of the power plant to give it the capability to run properly in parallel with the other generators.
Additionally, the original 250kW solar PV system is again being fed into the grid. The work completed means that MUL now possess four out of the five gensets available, along with a quarter of the solar PV capacity. The fifth generator remains down while MUL awaits replacement parts, for which orders have been placed.
MUL is continuing to work with its partners Salt Energy and Amandla Engineering to finalise returning the solar system to full functionality. This is expected to involve changing out the current SMA hybrid controller/fuel save system to a ComAp Hybrid Controller. This next phase will be completed shortly.
The work completed is expected to provide some additional stability to the power generation on island
MUL stated that [they are], “Thankful to the Government of Montserrat and the FCDO for financing to accomplish this. The Electricity Division staff have done yeoman’s work to keep the plant running, and we applaud them. We are also quite grateful for the suggestions, encouragement, and understanding from our customers as we continue to serve you.”