Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:31
By Colin Sampson
Caribarena.com has obtained documents showing that the announced value of the Wadadli Power Plant contract compares poorly with similar power generation packages offered by MAN Germany in 2008/2009.
The documentation comes in the form of a project estimate for a MAN Diesel 36.75MW power plant.
The proposal was sent to Caribarena.com by MP Robin Yearwood, following a pledge made on Wednesday April 18 during a telephone appearance on the Colin Sampson Show.
The price quoted in the project estimate for the total power generation package is 29 million Euros, or roughly US$38 million.
This is a far cry (some US$14 million far) from the US$52 million burden that has been laid on the backs of Antiguans & Barbudans by the Wadadli Power Plant contract.
In fact, the quoted price for the 36.75MW power generation project works out to be US$1,061,000 per megawatt.
At a cost of US$1,733,333 per megawatt, the Wadadli Power Plant cannot be said to represent a fair value.
The project proposal calls for three 12-cylinder MAN 48/60 diesel engines, each capable of supplying 12.25MW. The Wadadli Power Plant is designed to provide 30MW from six generators delivering 5MW each.
Rated at 48/60, the engines referred to in the proposal are clearly both more powerful and more efficient than the“12vMAN32/40” generator sets provided for in the Wadadli Power Plant contract.
By comparison, even with the addition of a seventh 12vMAN32/40 engine, the three 48/60 engines would still surpass the output of the Wadadli Power Plant by 1.75MW.
This means that using the technology and cost levels provided for in the Wadadli Power Plant contract, Antigua & Barbuda would have to spend almost US$64 million to match the output of the 36.75MW power plant.
On the other hand, using technology and costing methods more similar to the MAN Diesel 48/60 power generation project, 30MW might cost more in the region of US$32 million – US$20 million less than the present cost of the Wadadli Power Plant contract.
This comparison throws into sharp relief the wide gulf that separates PM Spencer, Ambassador Shoul, the Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda, and the management of Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) from practically the rest of nation.
The comparison also serves to highlight the interest that Prime Minister Spencer might have in shielding the People's Republic of China (PRC) from the public embarrassment that would ensue from a disclosure of allegedly gross mishandling of the Wadadli Power Plant contract.
The loss of “face” to the PRC would be, to put it tactfully, severe. The Chinese Embassy has already shown itself to be rather excitable when it perceives that the pride and dignity of the PRC are being negatively affected. PM Spencer also has displayed a readiness to lend stalwart support to the Embassy in its efforts to protect the interests of the PRC.
Perhaps in return for such stalwart support, the PRC seems intent on pouring resources into the prime minister’s constituency of St John's Rural West, almost to the exclusion of any others.
In the meantime, the MAN Diesel 48/60 power plant price comparison can only serve to strengthen public perception that millions of United States dollars in value remain un-accounted for in the Wadadli Power Plant contract.
Tellingly, the MAN Diesel 48/60 engines, which can also run on heavy fuel oil (HFO), come equipped with SCADA (Supervision Control & Data Acquisition) systems that permit Man to monitor the performance of the power plant from its offices in Germany.
All ancillaries are provided for in the proposal, including the auxiliary transformer. Only service buildings (office, workshop, and storage) are excluded. Due note is taken of unknown ground conditions at the undetermined plant site which is, however, clearly in Antigua.
Finally, the MAN Diesel 48/60 generators would be housed in a “steel building with cladding” similar to the newer Antigua Power Company (APC), as opposed to the concrete structure sheltering the Wadadli Power Plant.
In the meanwhile, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and non-resident Ambassador to China David Shoul continue to resist all attempts by the media, the public at large, and the parliamentary opposition to elicit a credible response to the myriad of unanswered questions surrounding the Wadadli Power Plant.See related stories:
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