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Virgin Islands Energy Future
Technical Assessments Inform Path Forward for EDIN-USVI Project
Working groups in the U.S. Virgin Islands have made considerable progress on the strategic planning required meet the USVI’s goal of reducing fossil fuel–based energy use in 60 percent by 2025. Eighteen months since the USVI signed an MOU with the international partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) to initiate the U.S. territory’s participation in EDIN’s pilot project, they are deep into the planning and assessment phases of the three-part community energy planning process. Much of their work over the past year has been dedicated to completing technical assessments needed to establish a viable path forward.
Several key analyses have been completed, and the resulting reports explore the opportunities, barriers and decisions that must be made if the territory is to achieve its audacious clean energy goals.
Renewable Energy Integration Reports—Sources of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, differ from conventional energy sources in that they are intermittent, which means they are not under the control of the utility. Significant planning is required to ensure that the intermittent nature of the power they produce does not compromise the reliability of the electrical system. One potential solution to address this challenge is a proposed interconnection of the USVI and surrounding islands’ electrical grids in the future.
Two reports, a renewable energy integration report published by NREL and an interisland transmission report published by Siemens PTI, were completed over the summer. The reports examine the feasibility of integrating renewable energy technologies into the USVI transmission and distribution systems, including:
- The economics of deploying utility-scale renewable energy technologies on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
- Potential sites for installing roof- and ground-mount solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and wind turbines
- The impact of renewable generation on the electrical subtransmission and distribution infrastructure
- The economic and technical viability of a 100- to 200-megawatt power interconnection of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority and British Virgin Islands grids via a submarine cable system.
USVI Energy Road Map—The road map explores the technical, policy and economic challenges to reducing the amount of fossil fuel used to generate electricity and water for the territory. The road map is presented in two NREL publications, an overview brochure and a detailed technical analysis.
2025 Transportation Plan—Using the USVI Department of Public Works’ 2030 USVI Transportation Master Plan as a foundation, the Transportation working group conducted analyses that informed its updated report, published by NREL.
Waste-to-Energy Evaluations—Unlike wind and solar, WTE systems provide sources of renewable energy that are “dispatchable”—that is, under the control of the utility. Of course, pollution controls are important if this source of renewable energy is to be used. Two reports, one published by NREL and one published by RTI, explore the state of the art in WTE and WTE emissions and the implications for the USVI.
All seven reports are available for downloading at edinenergy.org/usvi.html:
- Integrating Renewable Energy into the Transmission and Distribution System of the U.S. Virgin Islands, NREL, September 2011.
- Interconnection Feasibility Study – Final Report, Siemens PTI, July 2011
- U.S. Virgin Islands Energy Road Map Analysis: 60% Reduction in Fossil Fuel by 2025, NREL, September 2011
- U.S. Virgin Islands Transportation Petroleum Reduction Plan, NREL, September 2011
- U.S. Virgin Islands Waste to Energy Project, RTI, July 2011
- USVI Energy Road Map: Charting the Course to a Clean Energy Future, NREL, July 2011
- Waste-to-Energy Evaluation: U.S. Virgin Islands, NREL, September 2011
Governor discusses territory's renewable energy leadership at Energy Conference, community-wide investments needed to reach 60% fossil fuel reduction goal by 2025
Gov.John P. de Jongh, Jr. told federal officials and energy industry experts on Wednesday that sustainable energy production was the future for the Caribbean, and the Virgin Islands would continue to adopt strategies ensuring clean energy leadership.
The governor said the administration has made investments demonstrating its commitment to reduce energy costs, increase the territory's electrical system's stability and protect the natural environment. He also called on the greater community to participate in the territory’s energy consumption reduction goal and outlined a plan to help the Virgin Islands achieve its 60% goal by 2025, through a diversified energy portfolio.
“Developing and broadly implementing new, sustainable energy sources may be the most pressing global challenge of the 21st century. There is no nation or region in the world that is not concerned about this issue. But for island nations and territories, energy independence is even more urgent, and a sustainable solution even more vital to long-term economic health and prosperity,” de Jongh said.
The governor spoke before officials from the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Energy, local business leaders, service providers and other government officials. He said high energy costs are an oppressive burden on the territory's still-fragile economy, and the territory is at a disadvantage because it is not connected to a larger electrical grid.
Virgin Inslands road map to a future of clean energy
EDIN-USVI has produced a brochure that provides an overview of the clean-energy deployment process and progress of the Energy Development in Island Nations U.S. Virgin Islands pilot project road map, including over-arching goals, organization, strategy, technology-specific goals and accomplishments, challenges, solutions, and upcoming milestones. It can be found here.