Well Ray -- here is the other bottom line you should note.
The hydro dam will be costing Belizeans 10 cents US per kwh for 50 years. The Wartsila 5 cents US per kwh for 50 years. Half the price.
further -- the hydro dam is a locked in cost with nothing but further risk.
Hurricane takes it out -- sediment fills the basins -- dry time hit -- still we have to make those same payments. So the risk is that if production is effected in anyway -- the price per kwh has to go way up to cover it.
In fact - -taking a worse case scenario -- a hurricane totally destroying the dam(s) -- that 10 cents US per kwh would have to be charged on top of the price we make that power any other way -- and/or buy from Mexico. We are talking one "H" of a gamble -- and for 50 years worth!!
And last -- but not least. With the wartsilas -- 4 cents per kwh is fuel costs -- 1 cent is operational costs.
But fuel costs can be a local item. Sure -- we will never know about out local oil reserves - state secret. They could seel that out of the country for 50 cents per barrel realities -- and we would never be the wiser. Though that could be running those wartsilas -- bingo -- only 1 cent US foreign exchange!!
Now -- Wartsilas burn crude oil -- and anything else! They even burn an emulsion of coal dust and water!!
But they certainly can burn alcohol from sugar cane -- and they run wonderfully well on producer gas -- a product of biomass gasification -- well established technology. All kinds of examples around the globe of up to 20 megs worth from a single plant.
And how about this -- snipped from the "Reporter"
"Preliminary tests show that an 82 horsepower tractor burns the fuel normally with only a slight residual smell of vegetable oil in the exhaust fumes. The fuel also has excellent lubricating properties and has the advantage of being more in harmony with the environment in that the soybean oil is replenishable energy, where pure fossil fuel is not. The tractor also achieved a fuel economy slightly better than with regular diesel. While plowing compacted pasture land at a rate of 0.8 acres per hour, it consumed 1.44 gallons of bio-diesel per hour, in comparison to a fuel consumption rate of 1.5-1.7 gallon of regular diesel per hour, while working at the same rate."
A wartsila can burn 100% bio-oil.
So there you go --
With the dam -- it is at the very least -- a 10 cents US per kwh foreign exchange drain (Twice the cost of the wartsila -- and twice the cost of the Mexican power we are having problems finding foreign exchange for right now -- but also -- maybe -- much much more than that.
The Wartsila is a proven 5 cents US per kwh -- and as far as foreign exchange -- in a real bind -- we can do it for just 1 cent US per kwh!
The original proposal for using a wartsila was to gasify the excess bagasse at tower hill -- to produce 20 megawatts of power -- year round!! Twice as much as the hydro dam can even think of producing at the best of times.
And if the gasifier breaks down -- just run it on crude -- still half the price of the hydro power!!
From a business point of view -- this is a no-brainer. But add in the pork-barrel required to satiate members of GOB and their friends -- and it becomes an economic disaster for the future of Belize.
As it stands now -- just like all those nice new houses -- nobody can pay for it in our failing economy. They do not have jobs -- so how can they buy!
Which brings me to point 3 --
Run the wartsila on alcohol, bio-oil and bagasse -- and you are putting 5000 and more Belizeans to work -- solving the foreign exchange problem -- and still coming out with cheaper power than the hydro dam.
That is how far off track we are here in Belize regarding intelligent solutions to our power infrastructure.
It is dam the people of Belize -- fill our pockets -- full speed ahead!
It makes you wonder how they ever managed to find a foreign institution to lend the money for this hydro project fiasco -- and then came Fortis!!
Typical ignorant Canadian company suckered in to another venture in Belize!
Well -- at least they will not be able to say bigger circuses then this have went bust in Belize before -- Fortis will be the new winner -- of going bust in Belize -- by a long shot! Just like that other Canadian mining company did in Honduras!
Wonder if that reporter from Amandala is still in the wings somewhere?