Matanzas.–Alejandro Alonso was the first to enter and the last to leave the boiler furnace during the day on Tuesday, at the Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric Power Plant (CTE), where dozens of men and women are working to solve the problem and connect the plant, after its unexpected exit from the system.
At that time, around seven in the evening, fatigue was visible. You could tell at a glance this young helper in the severe trade. Also to others.
“In here everything is difficult, but the hardest thing is the heat,” he says, without complaining, and one imagines that working in these conditions, in a space that is also very small, must not be comfortable at all.
His teammate, Yasiel Molina –both from the Power Plant Maintenance Company (emce)– assures that the task there is to clean the edges of the area where the joints will then be made by means of welding. He insists that the quality of what they do is decisive.
Although the jobs are hard and unpleasant, it is a pleasure to see them “earning a living” in such adverse conditions. Apparently, there is no break that they cannot face.
It is said too easily, but that handy expression that “a great effort is being made to connect the plant in the shortest possible time” does not capture the performance of these workers in its real dimension.
In Guiteras there has not been a moment of calm in the last few hours. At dusk, the faces of the workers who were preparing for their break time revealed their fatigue and, at the same time, the prevailing desire to solve the breakdown.
BEFORE THE WEEKEND
Every time Guiteras leaves the system, especially if it is unexpected, the moment is disturbing in the working life of engineer Misbel Palmero Aguiar.
When this happens, the General Director of the plant cannot help but click his teeth and grapple for a long time, in his mind, against the sadness of just thinking about what this mishap can influence in the power outages that affect the population of so marked way.
“Despite the effort, sometimes things don’t go well and problems end up prevailing, he admits. For us it is a very difficult and stressful situation, since our workers are characterized by their dedication and sense of belonging, and they work tirelessly to achieve the incorporation of the Unit into the system. Everyone is aware of the plant’s contribution and what it means for the country’s thermal generation.
“That is why one regrets these unforeseen interruptions, after having worked for several days to synchronize it with the system. But you have to recover and start working again without losing time, to reintegrate it again».
For him, however, the greatest joy is provided by the fact of immediately seeing the Unit full of workers and specialists, all determined to make the dream of putting the CTE online again.
Palmero Aguiar recalled that, previously, in a shutdown of four and a half days, they managed to carry out almost two hundred actions in the thermal unit, and maintain it for 18 hours with a power of 220 megawatts (MW).
“That intervention made it possible to achieve an improvement in the void, although not completely. We lacked time to make all the relevant adjustments.”
Then there was another breakdown in the boiler, but this time in the part of the water, and that has nothing to do with the previous one, he specified.
«This Monday, after approximately 33 hours in the cooling process, we managed to carry out the initial inspection of the boiler and we saw the damaged tube that forced us to go out of service.
«Later, when we advanced in the inspection, we detected other faults in the area, which also required a solution, that is, cutting and replacing tubes. We applied other search and diagnostic techniques to see inside the pipe, and happily nothing else was detected.”
He commented that, little by little, they rigorously check everything they do; and he explained that, parallel to the sanitation task in that area, they also work on the superheater and the condenser.
“Another important task is the repair of the high pressure heater. The most recommended solution is assessed, whether to repair it or take it out of service; that’s where we’re at.”
Judging by the progress in the different actions, Palmero Aguiar dares to foresee that before this weekend the Antonio Guiteras will once again be contributing to the National Electric System.
BOYS DON’T COMPLAIN
In his opinion, it is not always easy to calculate in advance when the troubleshooting and maintenance work will be completed, but he admitted that the challenge for the group is to do everything with quality and shorten the downtime.
Everyone knows that our participation is an important support for the generation of electricity in the country. That’s why it hurts so much when the machines are turned off, and we are happy, on the other hand, to see that there is stability and things are going from strength to strength, he admitted.
A good proof of all the hustle and bustle now visible in Guiteras is, without a doubt, the performance of the emce maintenance and assembly brigade. His boss, Idael Curet Palma, said that, despite the insufficient space, the high temperatures and the smell of sulfur, the boys do not complain. “This is a truly admirable troop, their only commitment is to deliver.”
The operators of the support brigade headed by Julio Panusia López have no less conviction.
“Our people are the ones who open the registers to allow access to the boiler, in addition to cleaning the area where the washing residues end up. This is pretty strong, but it comes off. The group is satisfied with the attention and the salary.
He doesn’t forget that he had barely gotten home for rest, after four and a half days of work, when they told him that Guiteras had left again.
«That is not pleasant at all, but with me they know they can count. Whenever they call me, I go. And my men are like that.
- Before the end of the year, it is intended to recover 489 MW of power, which are not currently available in the sen, and 531 MW with other investments.
- A strategy has been drawn up aimed at sustaining the existing generation, recovering the limitations in generation and incorporating new power.
- The recovery will not only be in thermal generation, but also in distributed generation, in which 198 MW will be recovered.
- All actions are being carried out through foreign investment and with resources from our country.
- The island’s thermal plant has an average age of 35 years, and requires a constant balance between power recovery and the occurrence of faults and block limitations.
- These actions have to be complemented with a program aimed at reducing the demand and consumption of electricity for the duration of the emergency situation, to compensate for the high consumption in some of the sectors.
- There is a will to make the repairs in the shortest possible time, but even with the money and the available processes, time is required for manufacturing and assembly in the generation systems.
- The capital maintenance of a thermoelectric plant lasts between seven or eight months and, in some, up to a year, depending on its scope.
- 56 of the 243 measures applied by the Trump Administration, which are still in force, directly affect the Cuban Energy and Mines sector.
Source: Round Table