In Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), electricity generation is primarily from natural gas. This natural gas fuel is burnt and the heat energy released is used to produce steam. This steam is then used to turn a steam turbine which is connected to an electrical generator to produce electricity. In some instances, the steam portion of the cycle is omitted and the heated gas directly drives the turbine.
Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC)
Ownership: GOTT – 100%
The early history of electricity in T&T is closely connected with public transport which commenced in 1882. In December 1886, a group of local businessmen was granted a 20-year franchise to run an Electric Power Station and tramway system in Port of Spain.
In 1894, Edgar Tripp formed the Electric Light and Power Company. In March 1895, electricity was installed for the first time in Trinidad and two of the first buildings to have electric lights were the original Queens Park Hotel and the Princess Building.
A Canadian businessman bought the Electric and Transport System from local businessmen in 1901. The company was called the Trinidad Electric Company Limited.
The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) came into being by virtue of the T&TEC Ordinance No. 42 of 1945. It was formed to generate electricity and to distribute it outside the city of Port of Spain and the town of San Fernando.
T&TEC held its first board meeting on 28th December, 1945 and T&TEC began its operations on 1st January 1946. It was responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity throughout T&T. Electricity was first used in Tobago in that same year.
The Point Lisas Power Station was formally opened in 1977, to keep supply the emerging industries at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
Over the years T&TEC has moved from an integrated power company (power generation, transmission and distribution) to an organisation where focus is on design, construction operation and maintenance of the country’s electrical transmission and distribution network, with generation being done by Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Bulk power is supplied to T&T via a single electricity grid.
Scarborough Power Station, Darrel Spring Road, Scarborough
Scarborough Power Station has an installed capacity of approximately 11MW and is used primarily for standby power. The facility is a diesel engine generating station that is located in the heart of the capital city of Tobago.
Cove Power Station, Cove Eco-Industrial and Business Park at Lowlands, Tobago
Capacity: The Cove Power Station has an installed capacity of 65.6 megawatts (MW). There are four (4) Wartsila units, each with a capacity of 16.4 MW with dual fuel capability (both natural gas and diesel).
Start of commercial operations: The plant was commissioned on October 23rd, 2009. The Cove Estate Gas receiving facilities were officially commissioned on January 14th, 2013. However, the Cove Estate Power Plant turbines began using natural gas after September 2013.
Independent Power Producers
Power Generation Company of Trinidad and Tobago (POWERGEN)
Powergen was established on December 23, 1994 and is a joint venture company created out of the partial divestment of T&TEC. Powergen was formed to purchase the generation assets of T&TEC. Majority shareholding in Powergen has however been retained by T&TEC.
Ownership: In 1994, T&TEC divested its generation assets to Powergen, a company whose ownership structure at the time was led by T&TEC with a 51 per cent shareholding, followed by Southern Electric International with 39 per cent and Amoco with 10 per cent. T&TEC has retained its majority shareholding up to the present time, and there have been five occasions where the ownership structure changed hands, as follows: In 1998, BP Amoco replaced Amoco; in 2000, BP replaced BP Amoco; in 2001, the Mirant Corporation of the USA replaced Southern Electric International, in 2007, Marubeni Corporation replaced the Mirant Corporation and in 2013, National Enterprises Ltd Power Holdings Ltd replaced BP.
Powergen operates three major power generation plants at Point Lisas, Port of Spain and Penal. The largest plant is located at Point Lisas.
Their individual capacities are:
- Point Lisas : 838 MW
- Port-of-Spain : 270 MW
- Penal : 236 MW
Trinity Power Ltd, Point Lisas
Ownership: Trinity Power Limited (TPL) is owned by US based Carib Power Management LLC, which is a small private independent power an infrastructure company with expertise in the development, acquisition and long term operation of power generation, natural gas exploration, and transportation and infrastructure projects.
Capacity: The facility of TPL consists of six (3) General Electric (GE) simple cycle gas turbines rated for a combined output of 225 MW. The Plant is also equipped with a 1.5 MW black start diesel generator.
Start of commercial operations: September 1999.
Union Estate Power Station
Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) operates a 720MW combined cycle (CC) power generation plant on approximately 16 hectares of land at Union Industrial Estate in La Brea. It was originally conceived as a 60%-40% joint venture between AES Corporation (a US–based corporation) and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago with funding in the form of debt financing from the international financial market. With the collapse of the financial markets in 2008, Government assumed majority ownership of the project and responsibility for its financing. The facility cost approximately $US740 million or $TT4.7 billion.
Capacity: This facility was established to provide electrical power to the then proposed Alutrint Aluminum Smelter Plant and bulk power to T&TEC. Work on this facility started in January 2009. The facility is the country’s second CC Power facility, the first one being in Penal. On December 18th, 2012, TGU assumed care, custody and control of the entire facility from German contractor Man Ferrostaal and thereafter declared Commercial Operations to T&TEC up to the contracted capacity of 720 MW.
On July 10th 2013, Government acquired the remaining shares held by the AES Corporation at the cost of $US 31 million and therefore became the sole owner of the facility.
The plant consists of six (6) GE gas turbines rated for a combined output of 450 MW. Waste heat from the exhaust of these gas turbines is utilized by six Heat Recovery Steam Generators to produce steam. The steam produced by this waste heat is used to power two (2) steam turbines. These produce an additional 270 MW of power without the use of any additional natural gas.