At 8:42am on Monday, February 8, the Elmer Linzey Power Plant went silent for the last time. The power plant, which belongs to electricity provider, Saba Electric Company and had been in operation for the last 43 years was decommissioned as the new power plant located just a few hundred meters above the harbor went into operation and commenced providing power to the island for the first time. When the last generator at the plant was shut down, those gathered, which included Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioners Chris Johnson and Bruce Zagers as well as Island Council Members Eviton Heyliger, Ishmael Levenstone and Monique Wilson, gave a round of applause for the significance of the moment.
The plant, which was opened in 1973 was built to replace the island’s first power plant which was located in St. Johns, provided 24 hour power to the island since its inauguration. This facility which took its name from the co- founder of the island’s first electricity had a total of seven generators, which had the capacity to produce 3.5 megawatts (MW) of continuous power.
The former plant stands in contrast to the new power plant has taken over its duties, and the noise that welcomed visitors to Fort Bay has been permanently removed. The new state of the art boasts a sound proof facility and very little noise can be heard from the outside. It will produce more power with fewer engines. A total of 5 engines, three which will be relocated from the old plant, will have the capacity to produce 4.3 MW of power. The power will be mainly produced by two new fuel-efficient engines, manufactured by Anglo-Belgian Corporation. The three relocated Caterpillar engines will be standby units. The power plant, including fuel management, is fully automated and is controlled by a power management system, with the possibility of being run remotely if necessary.
The new high tech facility, which was moved to reduce the risk of the island losing the ability to generate power in the event of a severe hurricane, can store more than 300,000 more liters of fuel on site with six 50,000 liter fuel tanks. There are solar panels on the roof of the plant that feed 65 kilowatts of energy into the grid.
Commissioner of Energy Affairs, Chris Johnson said that this historic occasion was years in the making, “Saba has had to lobby through successive Dutch Governments, through a breakup of former electricity GEBE, just to make this occasion a reality. It has not been an easy process to get others who are not from here, to see the significance of this and also to find the funding to make this happen. I would like to personally thank everyone at the Saba Electric Company and the Ministry of Economic Affairs for doing their part to create this historic moment.”