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Sep 25, 2019

Unseasonable Drought Prompts Transition to Solar Energy

The extreme dry weather condition that continues to ravage the agriculture industry in central and northern Belize, is also wreaking havoc in the energy sector where the generation of hydroelectricity is similarly taking a hit.  The unseasonable drought that is affecting energy production comes hard on the heels of a price hike in the cost of energy from Mexico.  In the prime minister’s Independence Day address, he informed that Belize Electricity Limited is soon transitioning to solar energy which would replace a sizeable chunk of what is presently being purchased from Comision Federal de Electricidad.  Those forty megawatts, he says, will be generated locally.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“One last point about the drought, its effect on our hydro plants and the supply of electricity could not have come at a worse time. Up to three years ago our main sourcing of energy from C.F.E. in Mexico was going great guns. Prices were cheap and supply plentiful. But as of 2018 things changed drastically. From between eight and ten cents per KWh, the cost jumped to fourteen U.S. cents per KWh. Besides, the supply amount was also curtailed. Thus, we can’t move speedily enough to do something about the situation. Accordingly, our majority owned B.E.L. is now finalizing plans to replace a big portion of C.F.E. energy with forty MWs of local solar-powered energy. And this is no mañana enterprise. The P.P.A. for the first thirty MWs of the new solar source will be signed before the end of October, and the plant ready to start producing energy within a year.”


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