GPA signs new power plant contract

Korean Electric Power Company Vice President Guen Bae Seo joined GPA general manager John Benavente for the signing of the new power agreement. (PNC photo by Kevin Kerrigan)
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The Guam Power Authority and the Korea Electric Power Corporation signed a contract this afternoon to build a new power plant in Dededo by October 2022.

KEPCO will build and operate the plant for the next 25 years before turning it over to GPA.

The Korean electric power company vice president Guen Bae Seo joined GPA general manager John Benavente for the signing of the new power agreement.

GPA says the cost of the contract for GPA ratepayers will be about $2 billion dollars over the next 25 years, not counting the variable cost of fuel.

However, Benavente emphasized that the new power plant will both lower consumer power bills and bring environmental benefits to the island.

“This plan will reduce several million gallons a year and that’s very friendly. And in addition to that at affordable costs to our ratepayers,” Benavente said.

The 198-megawatt Ukudu power plant will replace the last two functioning Cabras units.

It’ll burn ultra-low-sulfur diesel which is a more expensive fuel but because of its efficiencies, GPA says your monthly power bill should drop by about 8 percent.

It also has the capacity to burn natural gas once the infrastructure is in place to handle it and Benavente said it will enable more renewal energy sources to be brought online.

“The new plant will also facilitate another 200K solar pV in this next decade to bring our renewable portfolio to 50 percent. That means that we would have mitigated 50 percent of fuel prices increase impact to our community. That means that’s something that we have never done before,” Benavente said.

The power plant is the key requirement under the terms of the consent decree with U.S. EPA that requires the plant to be built.

Consolidated Commission on Utilities Chairman Joey Duenas said the new power plant is a service “that will improve our island and contribute to lowering our carbon footprint, cleaning our environment and giving our island what they need so they can continue to prosper.”

Under the terms of the consent decree with the U.S. EPA, the power plant must be completed by Dec. 22, 2022.

GPA and KEPCO now have to obtain all the necessary regulatory permits before ground is broken.

Benavente said no date has been set to start construction but he expects that to occur within the first quarter of next year.