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PM Briceño to Discuss Energy Solutions with Mexican President Amid Crisis

Updated: May 11

In an urgent response to the ongoing energy crisis, Prime Minister John Briceño, along with representatives from Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), is set to meet with the Mexican President and a CFE representative in Chetumal this weekend.


The talks aim to address the persistent power outages that have plagued Belize for several days.

The upcoming meeting follows a preliminary discussion between PM Briceño and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier this week. PM Briceño shared his optimism about the bilateral cooperation, stating, "what I can say at this moment we had a successful meeting and what he is doing now for Belize is he is going to be in Cancun on Saturday and the President of CFE is going to be there. Every two weeks he takes a firsthand look at the work of Tren Maya. He will be arranging a meeting with me and BEL to see what we can do to cut out the blackouts.”


A significant focus of the discussions will be the implementation of a battery bank initiative. This strategy involves storing inexpensive overnight power from CFE Mexico, which sells electricity at two or three cents per kilowatt during low-demand hours around two and three o'clock in the morning. The stored energy would then be distributed into Belize's grid during peak times to stabilize and potentially reduce local energy costs. Financing for this project, estimated at around one hundred million dollars, is expected to come from the World Bank.


While the immediate concern is the quick resolution of the blackout issues, PM Briceño also highlighted his government's commitment to long-term sustainable solutions. He revealed plans for a major solar energy project funded by a seventy-two million dollar loan from Saudi Arabia. "We have managed to convince the Saudis to lend us seventy-two million dollars to do a sixty megawatt solar plant.


But this is not something you say here is seventy-two million. There is a whole process and we have been working with them and one of the Saudi companies that will be able to come in to build the first twenty. What Mr. Mencias explained to us is that the grid can’t hold sixty megawatts in one spot so we have to break it up into three twenty megawatt plants. The first one is going to be built by Bomba. We expect that will be commissioned by July-August of next year."


In the interim, BEL is making strides to enhance the grid's reliability. Two new engines are soon to be commissioned; one this week with a capacity of 30 megawatts and another of 21 megawatts in San Pedro by month's end. PM Briceño reassured, "Once we have those, that will give us a capacity of about 51 megawatts of electricity. It means then that if CFE would need to cut Belize, these generators could take over without anybody losing electricity. And then once CFE can provide back again to us, we shut down these engines and get from Mexico."


As the country faces mounting challenges with electrical stability, these strategic moves are critical in ensuring a stable power supply and sustaining economic growth.

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