Audit Bureau warns of increased summer power blackouts, calls for urgent mitigating measures

By Sami Zaptia.

GECOL’s Ruwais power station is currently one of the two most productive power stations at 76 percent productivity (Photo: GECOL).

London, 26 January 2021:

Libya’s Tripoli based Audit Bureau warned of an exacerbation of the electricity crisis in the coming summer peak due to the delay in the completion of some important projects. The warning came during a meeting with the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) last week.

Currently, GECOL has announced rolling 3-hour power cuts in the greater Tripoli area.

It warned that generation could decrease by 25 percent due to the high summer temperatures, to below 4,000 MW, while demand could increase to 7,500 MW – leaving a peak deficit of 3,500 MW. This would lead to a total blackout of the whole electricity network, it warned.

It called for an urgent meeting to implement a plan of action and called on the concerned parties represented in the Faiez Serraj government and the Central Bank of Libya to speed up budgets, so that GECOL can implement projects and avoid increased power cuts. Specifically, this plan of action would involve the overhaul of existing power units and import of mobile units to generate the needed 1,500 MW.

The Audit Bureau recommended that rapid steps should be taken regarding the following measures:

  1. Maintenance of the fourth unit of the Khoms gas station and the fourth and fifth units of the Zawia station, which would add 700 megawatts to the electricity network.

 

  1. Procedures for contracting and supplying some mobile power generators with a capacity of 500 megawatts in the city of Tripoli and 160 megawatts in the city of Zliten.

 

  1. Completion of contracting and implementation procedures for the 1,300 MW South Tripoli plant.

 

  1. Completing the procedures for opening approval for the Arab Union Company to construct a 160 MW station

 

  1. Carrying out maintenance and overhaul of 13 gas units in various stations in the country.

The meeting reviewed and followed up on GECOL’s work and its achievement during the preceding period and since the new board and chairman took over in July 2020.

What has the new GECOL board achieved since July 2020?

For its part, the company confirmed the completion of several projects according to its set plan, including the introduction of the Al-Khoms plant with a capacity of 526 megawatts and the conduct of some maintenance and overhaul. In addition, GECOL reported completing the connection of the gas line to feed the Al-Sarir station.

However, it added that these measures were insufficient to meet the country’s energy deficit as other units went off production losing approximately 500 MW. This means GECOL is still unable to generate more than 5,300 MW still leaving a deficit of about 2,000 MW.

 

GECOL’s total generation units (green) versus units not working (black)(Graphic: Audit Bureau).

 

According to graphics published by GECOL yesterday, Libya has 14 power stations operating at only 36 percent of their nameplate capacity, producing just 4,170 megawatts as opposed to the maximum 11,492.6 megawatts of energy that they are supposed to be able to generate.

The worse performers in terms of operating generation units are Derna with no units operating out of all its 6 units, Tobruk with no units operating out of all its 5 units, and the Gulf (Sirte) station, again with no units operating out of all its 4 power generating units. That is a loss of 130 MW, 200 MW, and 1400 megawatts, respectively.

 

GECOL’s actual generation in MW (green) versus nameplate capacity (red) (Graphic: Audit Bureau).

 

The two best performers are the Misrata and the Al-Ruwais/Western Mountain power stations, with the former producing 542 megawatts out of a capacity of 712 megawatts (76 percent) and the latter producing 720 megawatts out of a capacity of 936.6 megawatts (76 percent).

Tripoli West power station only has 2 out of its 11 units operating, generating 40 out of a possible 650 MW while only 6 out of 11 of Zawia’s power units operate, generating 755 out of a possible 1,340 MW.

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