The Old Power Station. All five remaining diesel engines are due to be retired in 2014. *Photo by Simon Jones
The Old Power Station. All five remaining diesel engines are due to be retired in 2014. *Photo by Simon Jones

FRIDAY, MAY 18: BELCO’s power station in Pembroke is a constantly changing landscape of deafening engines, steepling chimneys and tangled pipes.

Aging structures neighbour new state-of-the-art facilities and provide a visual timeline of the site.

And while Mills Creek and its terrapin population may have withstood the sands of time, parts of the plant now look weathered and ready for the retirement home.

The grey and aptly named ‘Old Power Station’ dominates the middle of the plant and dates back to the 1930’s.

Nearby land still shows the scars of the BELCO fire of 2005 while the station itself houses five working diesel engines; the oldest of which was installed in 1979.

In 2009, a sixth engine was shut down, while a year later new radiators were installed as part of the work done to extend the operating lives of three of the engines.

All five remaining diesel engines are due to be retired by 2014.

A stone’s throw from the faded Old Power Station is the state-of-the-art C Eugene Cox Operations Centre that was officially opened in 2003.

The pristine control room is the central hub of operations and staffed 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

The West Power Station is home to three new gas turbines that replaced four older units in 2010.

The turbines  are used for standby and peak power production.

While the East Power Station houses eight more diesel engines that have been installed in stages between 1985 and 2005.

Just behind the East Power Station, across Cemetery Road, the latest evidence of development has already taken shape.

The Bulk Lube Oil Storage facility or ‘BLOS’ is the newest addition to the BELCO plant and provides different grades of lubricating oil to the main plant’s diesel and turbine engines.

It has been built in the last six months on the site of the old BELCO garage, which has now been moved further afield to St David’s.

And it is also the first part of the North Power Station development.

At present though the land across from the BLOS, where the new station is expected to be built, remains empty and unused.

The next change in BELCO’s landscape seems to be on hold.