Leading sustainable electricity generation in the Dominican Republic

With the latest sustainable technology, a privately-financed structure and a clear
ethical compromise, Seaboard continues to pioneer the electricity sector.

 By Simona Simeonova

For more than 33 years, Seaboard has remained at the forefront of the energy market. They were the country’s first independent power producer (IPP) and have managed to operate very successfully for the past 22-plus years as a 100% privately owned, foreign-invested independent power producer company in the Dominican Republic, selling all its generation in the Electricity Spot Market.

It all started in 1989 with Estrella del Norte, a 40MW floating and fuel-oiled fired power plant, which was very successful and ten years later was followed by Estrella del Mar, a 75MW plant. Subsequently, it was replaced by Estrella del Mar II, a 110MW dual-fuel engine powered plant with a combined cycle, capable of running at 95% with natural gas.

«We support many associated activities because we believe that if our company’s environment improves, the company also progresses and increases its value»

These innovations have, in turn, translated into significant advantages for both the company and the sector. On the one hand, they have improved their overall technical performance, with close to 260MW of capacity. Plus, by reaching an availability of 98%, they have showed once again why they are one of the most efficient and successful companies in the National Interconnected Electricity System (SENI). On the other, they are consistent with the sector’s progressive evolution towards sustainable power generation, as it is currently consolidating its regulation and veering towards a cleaner energy transition. As Mr. Rodríguez explains, “since 2012, we are moving to natural gas for its greater efficiency and sustainability. We operate entirely in the spot market, where profitability is strictly defined by efficiency. Natural gas is a fuel with a significantly more stable price and at the same time, it is much more environmentally sustainable, as it is a clean and safe source of energy.”

While focusing on continuous technical improvement is key, Seaboard’s actions also demonstrate a great social compromise towards its employees, surrounding communities and environment. Not only do they provide an extensive employee support program that includes company provided meals at the cafeteria, medical dispensary and a savings and services cooperative; they also contribute to their surrounding community’s well-being by supporting initiatives such as the Fundación Santa Barbara, a neighborhood medical dispensary that is 100% company-funded, as well as sporting activities via several sport associations and neighborhood community clubs. The company is also providing funding to multiple activities which impact the well-being of other communities, such as the San Francisco de Asis which provides care for about 300 elderly residents from all over the country with a waiting list in excess of 500, plus many other cultural and educational activities sponsored by schools, churches and neighborhood associations.

Similarly, Seaboard actively participates in environmental projects that have a strong impact in the community. Their latest initiatives include a program developed together in alliance with Raudo, an association of universities dedicated to environmental studies which will monitor the water quality of the Ozama river; an alliance with Parque Ecológico Las Lagunas, an environmental reserve park for native species and a plant nursery for reforestation programs located in the Santiago province; as well as other activities focused on beach cleanups and reforestation campaigns. “We support a wide variety of social and environmental activities because we believe that, as long as our surrounding communities and the country progresses, so will the company and our employees”, assures Mr. Rodríguez.

Above all, Seaboard knows that to continue at the vanguard of their sector, they must keep evolving both technically and ethically, fully complying with all applicable laws and regulations. At the end, Mr. Rodríguez says, “I am very proud of the accomplishments of our team and company, in all respects, not only in technical terms. We are a very committed group of people who not only care about voicing support for the right causes, but also about acting accordingly.”