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Monday, April 21, 2014

CUC: CNMI has excess power capacity at 73.7MW

The Commonwealth continues to have a stable power supply and even has a significant excess power capacity, according to Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Alan Fletcher yesterday.

As of yesterday, the utilities agency has a total power generation of 73.7 megawatts, a little lower than last year’s average monthly generation of a little over 74 megawatts.

The decline, Fletcher said, is caused by some engines that are currently under maintenance. However, he assured that the current capacity is still more than what the three islands need.

“Capacity is greater than demand on all three islands. Total capacity is lower than certain points in 2013, as we have engines undergoing maintenance and repair on Saipan and Rota,” he said.

According to Fletcher, Saipan currently has over 150 percent excess capacity, while Rota and Tinian enjoy a much higher percentage. Once maintenance is completed, he said, excess capacity will be even higher.

On Saipan, the available power is 48.9MW yet its current peak demand is only 26.6MW, Fletcher said.

On Rota, the peak demand is 1.2MW but it has 4.8MW in available power.

On Tinian, which is handled by independent power producer Telesource, the available power is 20MW versus the current peak demand of 3.35MW.

Saipan Tribune learned that, unlike in the U.S. where the required reserve margin is at least 15 percent, other utilities like CUC has to maintain a reserve energy of 50 percent to 75 percent because it cannot purchase electricity from other utilities in times of emergencies.

CUC attributed the sufficient power production on the islands to the progress made in boosting the capacity of CUC’s Power Plant 1, which used to produce only 9MW in 2009.

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