Power Infrastructure

In the Dominican Repubic the power infrastructure operates under a mixed government and private sector system. Two international companies, Unión Fenosa of Spain and AES of the United States have been entrusted with the distribution of power. Private generators are responsible for about 50% of the power generated. The government retains the control over hydroelectric generating plants and the transmission lines. The government is studying the implementation of optic fiber transmission lines. 

In July 2001, Congress passed the bill that creates the legal framework for the electricity sector. The framework for the electricity sector was debated in Congress for eight years, as interested parties fought for advantages. The Superintendence of Electricity has yet to pass the ruling that would implement the law.  

Concurrently with the investments being carried out by the private sector, the government is investing in projects to produce energy, improve transmission lines and expand the electricity service for RD$4,664.8 million. The Dominican electrical authority (CDE) is developing new transmission lines and substations, installing 163 new megawatts in hydroelectric projects, and has approved 65 rural electrification projects for RD$60 million. It will also install new public lighting systems, according to press reports. 

The announced government goal is that by 31 May 2002, some 1,093 new megawatts go on line, with completed private and public projects accounting for RD$21,436 million investment. 

CDE is also installing a new management and informatics system SAP/R-3 at a cost of RD$38 million to make the entity more efficient. 

Some US$1,000 million is being invested in production projects to generate 930 megawatts in thermoelectric plants and 163 megawatts in hydroelectric plants. This is in response to the doubling of the demand for electrical power in the past 10 years. New independent producers are now responsible for about 50% of the total supply. This percentage will gradually increase as new plants enter into service. Plants that were installed in 2001 or are in the process of being installed are the following. Cogentrix (300 megawatts), Barahona (50 megawatts), Itabo conversion to coal (250 megawatts), San Pedro de Macoris barge (150 megawatts), Puerto Plata barge (180 megawatts), Moncion Dam (50 megawatts), Los Toros dam (9 megawatts), rehab of Valdesia Dam (54 megawatts), Jiguey Dam (49 megawatts), construction of Yuboa hydroelectric central (0.54 megawatts).

RD$4,664.8 million (US$280 million) are also being invested in construction of 1,226.3 kilometers of 138 kilovolt transmission lines, 447.6 kilometers of 69 kilovolt transmission lines, a 1,213 megawatt substation and another of 266 megawatts. 

The first two generators of the Cogentrix plant, capable of generating 100 megawatts each, entered into operation in October. A third plant will go into operation at the start of 2002. The plants will sell power to the Dominican Electricity Corporation.

Ege Haina, a power generation company, installed the Sultana del Este barge in the southeastern province of San Pedro de Macoris. The barge began producing up to 150 megawatts in November 2001. The lack of solvency has been the major difficulty that the sector has faced in the past. Today, the energy sector of the Dominican Republic is one of the most dynamic.

RD$60 million is being invested in 65 rural electrification projects in 27 provinces.

In addition, the government signed in July 2001 an agreement with the Canadian company, Dessau-Soprin International. The company will build four hydroelectric mini-centrals, an investment of RD$500 million. These are expected to generate 16 megawatts. They will be built in the provinces of San Juan de la Maguana (Salto del Canal Jose Joaquin Puello), Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Rio Boba), Peravia (Rio Nizao), and Santiago (La Zanja). Fortis Bank NV Brussels, Belgium is providing a US$30 million loan for the construction. 

York Caribbean Windpower, a subsidiary of York Reserarch Corporation, is building a windmill park in Puerto Plata to generate 115,000 kilowatts/hour at a cost of US$160 million. The project will be in operation by mid 2002. The company has contracted to sell power to CDE at US$0.057 kilowatt/hour, highly competitive by international market standards.

York Research Corporation is a US company that develops, constructs, owns and operates electric power and thermal generation facilities. These facilities are fueled with clean natural gas, solar energy or wind power, as is the case with the project for the DR.

The company operates two New York power plants. The firm also has wind-power projects in Texas and a natural gas-fired plant in Trinidad and Tobago.