Latin America’s “most efficient” power plant begins supplying energy to Peru
Lima, Jun 20 (EFE).- The Las Flores power plant, in the department of Lima, has begun operations to supply energy to Peru from a facility considered as “the most efficient” in Latin America.
“We now have a much more efficient plant. If the plant is more efficient it means that it produces continuously, there is no starting and stopping,” said Willem Van Twembeke, CEO of Inkia Energy, which operates the plant through its Peruvian subsidiary, Kallpa.
The plant operates non-stop, which “is much better” for its mechanical systems and efficiency, meaning less cooling water consumption, more savings in fuel, and better process optimization.
Las Flores previously operated with an open cycle and, after a US$165 million investment, which included upgrading the gas turbines, it now operates with a combined cycle.
This meant that it had only one gas turbine that did not generate power as efficiently and therefore had to start and stop operating several times a day.
After the refurbishment, it is now cooled with condensed air, using the steam used from the turbine with fans.
In addition, Las Flores has increased its power capacity to 320 megawatts, which will be supplied to the mining sector, which accounts for 10 percent of Peru’s GDP, to small industry and for domestic consumption.
A CHALLENGE IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
The project began in August 2019, although the infrastructure work started in February 2020. It was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which left Peru with the highest mortality rate in the world.
Nevertheless, the company said it overcame all the difficulties to finish the project in which hundreds of people were involved, with no accidents during construction.
“This plant was built during the pandemic with a lot of complex logistics. The logistics of bringing all the workers and specialists to the site was extremely complicated, but it was very well managed because we have finished within budget,” Van Twembeke said.
When the plant was finally put into operation on June 14, the work marked the end of a long journey.
The project involved increasing the sustainability of a plant that is now more environmentally friendly because of a “considerable reduction” in emissions.
This new plant reduces pollution by generating less carbon dioxide.
“A combined cycle plant emits about 0.4 tonnes per megawatt hour of electricity. Peru’s entire electricity sector emits around 0.2 tonnes per megawatt hour,” explained the Inkia Energy executive.
However, he pointed out that the Peruvian subsidiary, Kallpa, does “somewhat better than that,” registering0.15 tonnes per megawatt hour in emissions.
“If you combine all the hydroelectric (generation) in Peru, you have an electricity sector, from an emissions point of view, that is very well positioned globally. Some people in Peru tend to forget this, but one shouldn’t, one should put things in perspective,” he concluded. EFE