The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has managed to re-energize—restore it to full efficiency—one of Power Plant 1’s main engines in Lower Base.
Power Plant 1 has a total of eight engines. The CUC Power Generation Division was able to energize Engine 4, a unit capable of producing 7.2 megawatts of power. That engine has been inoperable since 2005 due to a seized crankpin.
According to the CUC executive director Gary Camacho, the engine, among many others, could not be immediately repaired due to the financial struggles of the corporation. With Engine 4 offline, the island lacked at least 6.5 MW of power.
“This engine repair was initiated last year and required extensive work in all areas of the unit as a result of the long downtime and parts availability,” said Camacho.
The engine received a replacement crankshaft as well as a replaced radiator system, a process that was performed internally by CUC staff without external assistance, said Camacho.
The peak power demand of Saipan is 40 MW.
Since Tuesday, the island’s reserve power capacity was at 0.95 MW. By the time Engine 4 was up and running, the reserve capacity jumped to 8.2 MW yesterday, said Camacho.
According to Camacho, the low reserve was due to the CUC Power Generation Division performing general maintenance and repairs to their engines, such as Power Plant 1’s Engine 3. Engine 3 is capable of producing 6 MW, but its turbo charger needs repairs.
In addition to Engine 3, Engine 5 is currently receiving repair from a contractor specializing in technical procedures. Engine 5, a 10-MW unit, has specific repairs that only a specialist may be able to carry out, such as metal stitching and careful machining. Work on Engine 5 is expected to be completed on May 9 and it would be online as soon as possible.
Power Plant 1’s Engine 6 and Engine 7 are next in line for some repair work. Engine 6 also requires a specialist to look at it since the repairs call for metal stitching and turbo charger support repairs. Engine 7 needs foundation repairs and would also require the services of a specialized contractor. Repairs for both Engines 6 and 7 are expected to be completed around June 8 and August 3, respectively.
CUC has been performing repairs and maintenance on its other engines at Power Plants 1, 2, and 4, “as previously reported in presentations over the last year.”
“This repair shows the dedication of all the people in the Power Generation Division. I was informed that this involved all areas of power generation and I am very proud and confident of each and every one of them down there,” said Camacho.
“I think the leadership of Power Generation Division manager Richard Kano and all staff have proven that they all have the talent and skills to move forward,” he added.