The economist Henry Hebrard considered that the conversion to natural gas of electricity generation plants that used to work with very expensive oil-derived fuels, such as Energas, Quisqueya I and Quisqueya II, have been the lifeline of the National Electric System.
The economics professional assures that they have represented a foreign exchange savings of about 235 million dollars for the Government and the Dominican people. “The conversion of the units owned by the Energas company, as well as Quisqueya I and Quisqueya II, has allowed not only to deliver more energy, but also to reduce the subsidy to the electricity sector by the State, since producing with natural gas is cheaper. and it lowers costs for generators, distributors and therefore users”, he pointed out.
For this reason, adds Hebrard, since the transition to natural gas from March 2020 to March 2022, the country has achieved savings of about 234.61 million dollars.
He explained that, in addition, the Dominican State will continue to benefit, since the annual savings projected for the electricity sector as of 2023 are 518.2 million dollars for the conversion and signing of purchase and sale contracts for the Energas units, which owns a plant composed for three turbine units of 100 megawatts (MW) each in combined cycle, as well as Quisqueya I, owned by the mining company Barrick Pueblo Viejo, and Quisqueya II owned by EGEHaina. These last two with a total capacity of 450 MW each.
He explained that those US$518.2 million of annual savings is due to the difference in fuel prices today, and specified that this is due to the good decision of the past and current authorities, when converting to natural gas and how it continues promoting natural gas as it is a clean fuel with a more competitive price.
He stated that another advantage that natural gas has, regarding the war between Russia and Ukraine, is that, unlike other fuels, it has long-term energy purchase supply contracts, of 10 years, which ensures a price stability and product availability regardless of what happens in international markets.
“This transition from the matrix of electricity generation from liquid fuels, basically full oil, to natural gas has been one of the most important events in the transformation network of the economy,” said the economist.
Hebrard reported that only the conversion of Energas and Quisqueya I and Quisqueya II represented investments that exceed 400 million dollars.
The economist explained that with the conversion to natural gas, everyone wins. “Obviously the country wins because there are already significant savings in the electricity subsidy, which has been one of the country’s biggest fiscal problems,” he said. He emphasized that “these savings are especially relevant.”
In 2021 generation increased by 53.8%
He explained that according to the official data produced and published by the Dominican Corporation of State Electric Companies (CDEEE) in its monthly reports, in 2021 natural gas generation increased by 53.8%, while total generation grew by 7%. He considered that this increase in natural gas has made it possible to accompany the growth of the Dominican economy.
He reported that full oil generation, which until 2019 represented more than 40% of electricity generation, fell below 10% in 2021.