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Ukudu power project hits a snag; Guam’s power outages may continue until 2026

Updated: Sep 18, 2023




By Mar-Vic Cagurangan


The much-ballyhooed Ukudu Power Plant project, which was initially scheduled to be up and running by April 2024, has been stalled due to damage caused by Typhoon Mawar, according to the Guam Power Authority.


As a result, GPA will have to extend the operation of its aging power plants for three more years.


To maintain grid stability when customer energy demand exceeds total energy capacity, GPA implements rotating outages lasting up to one hour on a daily basis.


The frequently collapsing Cabras baseload units, which have been surviving on constant emergency repairs, were originally set for retirement at the end of 2024.


However, the commissioning of the 198-megawatt Ukudu project has been rescheduled for 2026 due to construction delays resulting from the devastating storm that barreled through the island in May.


The power plant located on a 45-acre property in Dededo is being built by the Korean Electric Power Co.

In the meantime, GPA said it is “working to stabilize the system” and “avoid power interruption.”


GPA operates renewable energy sources to supplement power production from the grid. However, due to weather conditions, these energy sources produce limited capacity.


“The Mangilao and Dandan solar PV facilities contribute to the total energy production during daylight hours, prior to the evening peak demand,” GPA said.


“Rainy or overcast days reduce the amount of solar energy the system produces for the power grid. Cloud cover has an impact on how much solar energy the system generates.”

GPA’s Cabras baseload units are about 48 years old and the Piti units are about 24 years old.



“Emergency repairs are sometimes needed and the units have to be taken offline at a moment’s notice to avoid further damage to the machines,” GPA said. “Repair work to baseload units is extensive and complex, the unit must cool sufficiently to allow safe entry by generation personnel before repair work can begin.”


The utility agency said other non-baseload generation units such as the combustion turbines have been running longer hours than normal. These units have only been on an abbreviated preventive maintenance schedule to assist with generation shortfalls.


“These non-baseload generation units need their required preventive maintenance hours in order for the units to run reliably,” GPA said.


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As of Thursday’s GPA update:

  • Baseload unit Cabras 2 returned to service but recently tripped due to a possible boiler tube leak. GPA and its Performance Management Contract partner, TEMES are evaluating and accessing the unit in order to provide the necessary resources to improve the reliability of the boiler,

  • Macheche Combustion Turbine Unit has returned to service today after emergency repairs were completed.

  • Dededo Combustion Turbine Unit No. 1 repairs are ongoing and we anticipate the unit to return to service later today or sometime tomorrow.

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GPA said it has been able to get assistance from large customers such as hotels, Guam Regional Medical City, Micronesia Mall, KWTR Radio Station participating in the Interruptible Load Program and the U.S. Navy.


"These large customers along with the U.S. Navy voluntarily go off the grid and operate on their standby generators during the periods of time when capacity is less than demand, most especially during our peak hours when demand is highest," GPA said.




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