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FortisTCI Increases Generating Capacity to Meet Unprecedented Growth

FortisTCI Increases Generating Capacity to Meet Unprecedented Growth 10Jul 2024

FortisTCI has expanded its energy production capacity to maintain a reliable electricity supply as the Turks and Caicos economy grows. In 2024, electricity demand is expected to grow 8.1% compared to the previous year.

The Company has installed a new dual-fuel Wärtsilä generating unit at its Providenciales power plant, which can produce electricity using natural gas, a lower-carbon energy source. This latest energy investment, which began in 2022, is in line with the Resilient National Energy Transition Strategy (R-NETS), which was approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government. It provides an additional 9.373 megawatts of electricity generating capacity to Providenciales and the North and Middle Caicos grid via a subsea cable.

The additional capacity means that FortisTCI can continue to provide reliable, least-cost electricity around the clock, or “firm” capacity. In TCI’s high-growth environment, firm capacity is required to meet demand and maintain reliability as the Company continues to transition to lower-carbon energy sources.

FortisTCI currently has 2.6 megawatts of solar energy on the grid and will add another 6.8 megawatts of solar energy over the next five years through rooftop installations and microgrids with battery energy storage. The Company will commission a 1.2-megawatt solar plus battery microgrid in North Caicos later this year, supplying 30% of the Twin Islands' energy demand. The groundwork to install a 200-kWdc solar plus battery microgrid on Salt Cay is underway. This project is expected to be completed in 2025 and will serve 91% of Salt Cay's energy demand.

The Company has undertaken several studies to support its strategic investments in achieving a balanced energy mix. A wind study, which was completed on North Caicos, demonstrated the viability of wind as an energy source. A gas-to-power study completed in 2023 revealed the feasibility of using natural gas as lower-carbon fuel on Providenciales.

FortisTCI’s solar plus battery microgrid studies have informed its current microgrid projects on Salt Cay and North Caicos, based on land availability, energy demand, infrastructure, and other key factors. A recently completed solar PV land availability study shows the percentage of land suitable for ground-mounted solar PV in TCI. These studies support the Company’s integrated resource planning to meet current and future energy demand.

Commenting on the Company’s energy investments, FortisTCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes stated, "The Turks and Caicos economy is experiencing unprecedented growth, and it is essential that the electricity system keeps pace. Expanding our generation capacity requires a delicate balance of critical factors, including sustainability, least-cost energy, resiliency, and reliability. A reliable electricity supply provides TCI with a competitive advantage and gives customers the power they need when needed."

FortisTCI is one of the most reliable utilities in the Caribbean. Over the past three years, electricity service has been available to customers 99.97% of the time. Customers gave the Company a 94% satisfaction rating for reliability in an independent customer satisfaction survey last year.