Economy October 9, 2015 | 5:07 pm

Seaweed snarls Dominican Republic´s biggest power company

Santo Domingo.- Thecompany AES Dominicana on Friday said encroaching seaweed have severely affectedits two major power plants, but noted that the situation isn’t related to thelatest spate of rolling blackouts as long as six hours nationwide.

It said two of itsfour plants near the capital, which supply 610 megawatts to the national grid, arelocated on the country´s south coast, where the seaweed has been piling upsince mid July.

AES Dominicana notes nonethelessthat two of its other plants have come online at full capacity since Thursday night,"and the fact that its units are undergoing these problems wouldn’t be thereason to create the gap attributed to generation.”

In an emailed statementthe power company said a total of 570 metric tons of seaweed has been arriving atits facilities during the last 28 days thus far this year, with high amounts occurringon June 10, July 27 and October 7, “when the flow exceeded the extractioncapacity of the specialized equipment for waste management in general.”

It said as many as 28divers and 20 assistants and cranes and other equipment are working each day todeal with the influx of the seaweed.

“During these peaksand to avert further consequences the Itabo management has been forced to take atleast one of the units off line, leaving the other at partial load to protect equipmentthat are cooled by seawater.”

Hotels swamped byseaweed

Since the seaweed beganappearing in Dominican Republic´s eastern beaches two months ago, the hoteliershave asked the government´s help with its cleanup, arguing that the tourism sectorcould suffer with the ensuing harm to an economy heavily dependent on thehospitality industry.

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