REPORT #627 March 2003

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Some arguments against: From an engineering viewpoint.

Everyone is missing the point -- and badly.

The GOB sponsored media hype is promoting that this is the solution to our energy problems -- it is not!!

First we are using about 45 megs peak -- 34 megs continuous -- 6 megs does not make such a big dent.

Second -- this dam does not make power during dry season. The entire reservoir is drained in less than 4 days. Until rain comes back -- turbines stop turning. How much power is coming out of the exiting plant right now??

Third -- costs are prohibitively high for such a small power supply and effectively stop us from investing any further -- we become locked into supply from Mexico for the next 50 years!! (A steady 28 megs right now -- but we need more)

The best plan was making a deal for Guatemalan Crude and running at least 50 megs capacity of big Wartsila Low RPM diesels. Exporting some of that back to Guatemala for it's border towns. (Yes -- that deal was proposed and excepted 7 years ago -- but then GOB sold BEL and everything "stopped")

It would cost the same price or less in capital as the dam -- but 50 megs -- not 6 megs -- of power. It can be easily increased in size -- unit by unit. Puerto Cortez started with 50 megs -- is now running over 300 megs worth -- of big Warts -- supplied with Venezuelan crude -- locked in at $30 US per barrel max price for 30 years.

They are selling that power to Honduras for 6.5 cents US per kwh.

Cost of power would be about 6 cents US per kwh -- with oil at $40 US per barrel. (The company is honduras is making power for 5 US and selling for 6.5 -- profit is good)

We probably have enough small reserves of our own crude to fuel this power source for many years -- as well. So buy crude while we can -- develop further our own sources -- and keep that in the bank.

Further -- the big warts convert to operating on biomass -- directly -- through gasification plants.

This increases the cost to around 8.5 cents US per kwh.

Right now -- just capital and maintenance costs for this dam project are to be 11 cents US per kwh or more -- for the entire 50 year projected life span of this dam.

Of that 11 cents per kwh -- 10 cents is in foreign exchange for debt servicing.

So sunning up. 6 megs "sometimes" is not enough to make any difference to our future power problems. We are going to pay far to much for that sometimes power. and we are blowing more than sufficient capital to supply 50 megs at half the price!!

It will never make sense to me -- but obviously -- it makes sense to Belizeans.

Go figure why post colonial countries have a hard time developing basic infrastructure projects??

This dam is the stone that carries we here to the bottom -- never to surface again -- tied by one leg -- etc.

Tony Espat has been trying to implement a biomass power project here fro 6 years now. But GOB refuses to listen. His project capacity is for 8 megs -- two more than the dam -- and for year round supply.

No costs for the people or government of Belize!! He simply needs a contract to take all the power his plant produces.

He is asking under 9 cents US per kwh for this power. He has the 20 million plus fund in place to start. The plant was projected to be completed and in operation 2 years ago.

Fortis is dead set against this -- and the GOB cowed in to that demand. We the people of Belize get screwed as a result.

Tony's plan called for using cohune nuts as fuel -- the plant to be situated in Belmopan -- and give employment to 2000 people or more selling nuts for power.

$40 BZ per ton of nuts.

Meaning most -- or the greater part -- of that 9 cents US per kwh staying in Belize!!

But Fortis does not want this (The PUP GOB has signed all permissions 6 years ago -- it was a "go") -- so screw Belize and Belizeans -- and hey -- if they are dumb enough to con -- con them to economic oblivion!!

Kevin met me and is on this list due to Tony maybe hiring him as plant engineer.

Kevin is a thermodynamics engineer and build plants such as this.

Plus don't forget 20 megs from bagasse -- plus the option of wood fired biomass power plants -- all coming in at 9 cents US per kwh and less -- and all leaving most of that money sitting right here in Belize.

Well -- there you go -- we seem to have no way to go but down -- so what else has changed??

Best we forget about living "modern" and go back to candle for lights -- waving a paper fan for cooling -- no more TV -- and battery powered radios for the richer.

Certainly -- this dam project will be the demise of us here -- not the rebirth!!


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