Mexico , Chile , Venezuela , Ecuador , Colombia , Peru , Brazil , Bolivia and Argentina

Quenching Latin America's thirst for fast-track power

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Quenching Latin America's thirst for fast-track power

Gustavo Pérez, an associate sales director at APR Energy, says the temporary power generation services company is expanding its business in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. This is the second of a two-part interview.

BNamericas: What role do you think fossil fuels will have - especially natural gas - in Colombia's future electric power mix, given the government's new focus on developing non-conventional renewables?

Pérez: The implementation of non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) is a positive reality, and in Colombia, it is a growing trend. But its intrinsic intermittency means it must be backed up with a source that provides stability and reliability with minimum environmental impact. An ideal solution is the combination of energy storage through batteries, with thermal generation as a backup.

The batteries assume any instant variation to allow the thermal generation to come online as fast as it can. This provides frequency stabilization and voltage regulation capabilities to help stabilize and regulate the system. Among today’s thermal technologies, aeroderivative turbines powered by natural gas are a perfect option to consider. With this strategy many wind and photovoltaic parks will come online with high energy quality and reliability. With the renewable technology evolving rapidly, why commit to a permanent structure if you have access to an interim solution?

BNamericas: How does APR view the Ecuadorian market? Has the company received interest from possible new clients there?

Pérez: Ecuador is a very attractive market where APR Energy has a history of success. We participated in the mitigation program during the electric crisis back in 2010. And more recently, I had the opportunity to structure a couple of interim power generation projects for the Ecuadorian oil sector.

While there is growing demand for power in the oil industry, there is also a need to decouple the generation from the expensive diesel fuel. The sector's authorities are structuring a program to displace diesel and we have been introducing our capacity to attend to this, with our modular solutions that can generate electricity using associated and flare gases in a flexible and scalable way.

Also, the Ecuadorian mining sector is one of the most promising in the region and this brings a critical need to install dedicated generation while the transmission lines are being built. We have been successful with similar projects serving critical power industries, such as mining, in other geographies.

BNamericas: Are there opportunities for APR in Venezuela, perhaps providing power to oil and gas operators? Or is the business environment there too risky?

Pérez: There’s no question that there are numerous opportunities to support Venezuela’s power grid and help the country recover from the current challenges they are facing.

To begin, with more than 36GW of total installed capacity and about 25GW of them out of service causing recurrent blackouts and rationing, Venezuela does not have a deficit of installed power, but a lack of availability and reliability in the generation and transmission systems. Therefore, a fast-track interim solution to provide reliable power, while the installed infrastructure is repaired, will much better serve Venezuela than constructing new power generation plants that would increase the burden of capital investments and require long lead times.

Since the repair of transmission lines and power generation plants may take several months, our mobile solutions can serve as a distributed and dedicated interim source of energy for vital facilities such as hospitals, water treatment, food processing and sewage plants. Powering these facilities will immediately support humanitarian efforts, ensuring a reliable supply of electricity. And, of course after these systems are addressed, we can provide power to oil fields and the industrial, petrochemical and metallurgical complexes as well.

APR Energy has utilized its interim, fuel-flexible plants in several countries, each one with its own and unique set of economic, financial and political challenges. Nonetheless, we have consistently delivered energy quickly and adequately to these various regions.

As for Venezuela, APR Energy is closely monitoring the developments in the country and has dedicated resources to support the grid with specialized power solutions at any time.

BNamericas: Which other countries in Latin America present opportunities for APR and why?

Pérez: APR Energy’s commercial and operational flexibility allows us to pursue prospects in the entire region. In addition to those already mentioned, there are opportunities in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.

APR Energy can develop solutions for a variety of needs, including instances where there is strong mining development, oil and gas expansion, transmission network deficits, trapped natural gas, associated gas being flared or strong growth of NCRE.

About APR Energy

APR Energy is a leading provider of specialized power solutions, and has installed nearly 5GW of power capacity across more than 35 countries. The company's fast, flexible and full-service solutions provide customers with access to reliable electricity when and where they need it, for as long as they need it. APR Energy maintains high environmental standards while prioritizing operational cost effectiveness to provide the highest value to customers. Combining fuel-efficient technology with industry-leading expertise, the company's scalable turnkey plants help enhance power infrastructure in cities, countries and industries around the world, in both developed and developing markets.

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