• The Star Staff

PREPA seeks private managers for aging power plants

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) officially has launched the search for private managers for its power plants, many of which are over 50 years old.

Together with the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority (P3), PREPA issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to companies and consortia that may be interested in managing, operating, maintaining, and performing asset management and decommissioning one or more of the base-load generation plants and gas turbine peaking plants located throughout the island. The plants are known as “Legacy Generation Assets” and represent a total system-wide PREPA-owned dependable generation capacity of some 3,600 megawatts.

Originally, PREPA had planned to sell the power plants but P3 head Fermín Fontanés said last September that officials had opted to put a stop to the idea because the valuation of the plants was likely to be too low. The utility recently put its transmission and distribution (T&D) system under a private operator, LUMA Energy.

“This RFQ is a part of the Government’s mission to transform Puerto Rico’s electric system pursuant to Act 120. Following the successful completion of the (Transmission and Distribution) T&D RFP process, the next phase of PREPA’s transformation process contemplates tapping private operational expertise for the operation, maintenance and eventual decommissioning of PREPA’s Legacy Generation Assets,” Fontanés said in a statement. “To that effect, the P3 Authority and PREPA are looking to enter into a Public-Private Partnership with one or more persons, including private sector companies or consortia, electricity cooperatives or energy cooperatives. The Project will not involve the sale of any of the said Legacy Generation Assets.”

Efran Paredes, acting executive director of PREPA, added that “Puerto Rico needs a modern electricity system to increase reliability and resiliency, reduce costs, facilitate distributed generation and allow for the economic recovery of the island.”

“Any modernization efforts need to focus on short- and long-term solutions to, among other objectives, reduce Puerto Rico’s reliance on fuel oil, increase availability of renewable energy and natural gas, increase system resilience and efficiency, invest in facility repairs, improve dispatch through implementation of modern technology, and retire, replace and upgrade inefficient generation assets,” he said.

Responses to the RFQ are due on Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. AST.

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