WAPA releases Energy Production Action Plan
The Governing Board of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority released an Energy Production Action Plan in September of 2012. The introduction to the plan says the board invested considerable time and resources in the plan because of the understanding that there was a need to clearly communicate to the utility's customers what efforts are being made to mitigate high energy costs.
The plan represents a description of the options currently available to WAPA for the reduction of energy costs as understood by the board. The plan also includes anticipated times that represent a conservative estimate as to when specific steps should be competed towards achieving the objective of reducing electric rates.
A copy of the plan is available by clicking here.
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
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.
Residents Speak to Energy Strategy
The V. I. Energy Office held three Town Meetings in June to receive input from residents concerning the Virgin Islands Comprehensive Energy Strategy. About a dozen residents gave input at the St. Croix meeting; a half dozen at the St. Thomas meeting and three at the St. John meeting.
James Powell, of the Southern States Energy Board which created the plan under the direction of Energy Office and a policy advisor within the office of the Governor, recorded all comments.
After opening remarks by Energy Office Director Bevan R. Smith Jr., at each meeting, Kenneth J. Nemeth, executive director of Southern States Energy Board, outlined why the officials were seeking input on the draft plan and what steps would have to be followed afterwards. (Pictured here is Andrew Rutnick testifying on St. John.)
Some of the concerns raised on St. Croix were:
- Was WAPA on board with the plan?
- Were LED light fixtures part of the plan?
- Should WAPA introduce a tier rate structure, charging more for electricity during peak demand times?
- Why isn’t WAPA looking into a Feed-in Tariff which is more attractive to residents than simple net metering?
- How was the photovoltaic market going to be stimulated in the Virgin Islands?
Some of the concerns raised on St. Thomas were:
- Why is WAPA punishing residents by raising the rates when residents adopt energy efficiency?
- Why is the government not bringing “down the hammer” on WAPA?
- Why is the government not doing more to encourage recycling?
On St. John, the concerns raised mostly related to the need for more public education of residents.
Funding for the strategic plan was made available, in part, from the United States Department of the Interior. Copies of the strategy plan were distributed at the meetings. Copies of the plan were also given to each V. I. senator and community stakeholders.
The main objectives of the strategy are to:
- Reduce energy costs
- Increase efficiency of energy use and production
- Increase fuel diversity and reliability
- Promote clean energy
The strategy outlines the current energy situation, notes energy resource options, and lists specific strategies to meet the main objectives. The plan sets forth 31 strategies to support the above energy goals.