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My fourth day in Venezuela: Tears of the Expert of the Central Power Plant

Release time:2018-09-01 Article source:21SFC Reading times: A+AA-
Xu Yichao, Deputy General Manager of the Venezuelan Subsidiary of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) said that, in consideration of the cooperation between China and Venezuela and overall interests of the two sides, CMEC will go all out to ensure electric power supply of Venezuela. As the No.6 unit is a hard-won result of the whole team through years of efforts, the members of the team sincerely hope that the unit can run smoothly and safely. 
 
Located in the Carabobo State, the No.6 generator unit of the Central Power Plant was completed by CMEC in 2016, with an installed capacity of 600,000 kilowatts, and its generated electric power energy accounts for 3% of the total generated power of the national grid of Venezuela.
 
 
The central power plant has six units. Imported from Italy and Germany, the No.1 and No.2 units were completed in the 1970s, with a capacity of 400,000 kilowatts, respectively; No 3, No 4 and No.5 units were imported from Germany and Japan and completed at the beginning of the 1980s. With a single unit capacity of 400,000 kilowatts, the generator sets were world leading at that time, but have now all retired due to aging.
 
Venezuela is a country predominated by hydropower, with its hydropower generation accounting for over 60% of its gross installed capacity. Particularly, Guri hydropower station, the largest hydropower station of the country, has an electric power output of 10 million kilowatt. In recent years, the water level of the hydropower station has often dropped below the warning line due to climate changes. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stressed construction of hydropower stations, and the Central Power Plant is thermal power plant fueled by heavy oil and it is for supplying the six states in central Venezuela with electric power. 
 
In order to ensure successful handover of the No.6 unit of the Central Power Plant, CMEC had ever carried out three-month theoretical and practical training in China for 50 top-notch technicians from the plant. In 2017, all operation and maintenance work of the power plant was handed over to the Venezuelan side after the one-year warranty period.
 
Project manager Li Lijun said that there is a Chinese team consisting of over 30 members still stays at the project site to provide the Venezuelan side with free operation & maintenance services so as to ensure normal operation of the No.6 unit. In recent years, Venezuela was plagued by economic downturn and its petrochemical and electric power industries suffered from outmoded equipments and lack of funds. The country supplies electricity for free, and for this the power plants are lack of funds for development and maintenance, leading to nationwide shortage in power supply. The No.6 unit often operates in spite of its poor conditions and is likely to halt at any time. Xu Yichao, Vice General Manager of CMEC Venezuela Company, said that in consideration of the cooperation between China and Venezuela and overall interests of the two sides, CMEC will go all out to ensure electric power supply of Venezuela. As the No.6 unit is a hard-won result of the whole team through years of efforts, the members of the team sincerely hope that the unit can run smoothly and safely.
 
 
In addition, I interviewed Francisco, who is in charge of operations of the Central Power Plant. He has worked for 38 years at the Central Power Plant since his graduation and witnessed the construction of the No.1 unit and the No.6 unit. He fondled the No.6 unit with tears in his eyes when the unit was built, saying that it is a major project that is urgently needed by Venezuela. As a technical expert, he knows very well that the plant plays a very important role in power transmission to the state grid of the country. As the unit can not halt due to power shortage, he shed tears once again, helplessly. 
 
Francisco was unwilling to leave the plant though many of his colleagues have gone broad to make a living. “I will work at the Central Power Plant until my retirement. The government has granted me and my family members with many benefits such as free medical services and free education, for this, I must shoulder responsibilities rather than fleeing away at this hard moment.…”, said Francisco.
 
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