I receive every month a very interesting report from the Venezuelan Academy for Engineering. It always has interesting facts, I particularly enjoy the pictures of unfinished public works by the Chávez Government.
In the latest report, which I got yesterday, there is this graph of the position of the turbines in Guri
As shown, eight of the Guri turbines (two of which are down) that generate 5,600 MW are at level of 238 meters, thus it would be impossible to operate at that height as said publicly by at least two Government officials. One of them actually said that it could operate at 236 meters. Note that there are six additional turbines at the lower level which are down.
The problem is that there is a phenomenon known as cavitation which damages the turbines. As the water level goes down, air bubble can gon in the turbines. These bubbles themselves are not the problem, the way I understnd is that as they collapse inside the trubine they create pressure waves which are at high frequency which lowers the efficiency and damages the turbines. The Guri dam specifications say that it should never be operated below 240 meters, but more importantly the specs say operation should be stopped even above that level.
An additional plot form the same presenttaion, not in the Bulletin of the Academy is shown below:
This plot shows the scheduled “new” capacity to come online in the next three years. As you can see Corpoelec projects new capacity in the next three years slightly above 4,000 MW, the same amount the Government claims it will install in the next 12 months. Note that this includes 400 MW of Planta Centro, which were scheduled to come online last October, then last February and now who knows when. Hopefully, the rest of the schedule will be more on time that repairing 400 MW of Planta Centro.
Today, the OPSIS website reports that inflow into the Guri dam jumped to 919 cubic meters per second, a sharp increase over the previous days. The water level dropped 14 centimeters, but it indicates there is significant rainfall in the Caroni basin. This is good news.