Power Plant Blast Shuts Unit in Guam

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 @ 02:09 PM gHale

Heavy smoke and flames shot out from the Cabras Power Plant, where an explosion and major fire broke out Monday.

Now an investigation is underway to determine the cause of an explosion and fire that broke out at one of the Guam Power Authority’s most efficient baseload units, losing 80 megawatts to the system, officials said.

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“At about 2:30 (Monday) morning, our Cabras Power Plant, Cabras 3 and 4 experienced an explosion and corresponding fire and therefore the whole plant was shut down,” said John Benavente, general manager for the utility agency.

That explosion occurred in Piti in one of the Guam Power Authority’s most efficient baseload plants. Benavente said the five employees on duty escaped without injury. Investigators are still seeking the cause of the blast.

Investigators are “are continuing their analysis and inspection of the facilities to be able to determine whether the plant is structurally sound for personnel to enter the premises,” he said.

But with the loss of 80 megawatts to the system, GPA is also analyzing whether they will be able to meet the current power demand for the island.

“As far as meeting the load, we are able to meet the load as of right now today, we do have 276 megawatts of capacity. Our peak demand as everyone knows and understands lately, it’s been hot lately ,and when it’s hot on Guam, the air conditioning loads go up, and so it’s been around 250 megawatts,” Benavente said. “So we basically have about 26 megawatts on reserve and as long as our other plants continue to operate then we should be able to meet the load.”

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam along with local agencies did have to respond to Cabras as a result of an oil spill caused by the explosion.

“Some of the oils that were in the plant, actually spilled out around the vicinity of the Cabras power plant,” Benavente said. “Our teams immediately brought in the spill response team not only for the onsite, but the water site of the plant.”

Benavente said they contained most of the residual oil and the cleanup continues.

This is not the first time an incident happened at the power plant, as an explosion occurred in early 2000 at Cabras 3 — before the Consolidated Commission on Utilities came on board.

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