U.S. Virgin Islands to install new generators and increase renewable energy sources

The Virgin Islands’ Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has announced its plans to announce new generators by the end of 2020, while increasing the use of renewable fuels.

The office of Governor Albert Bryan Jr. is now receiving bids for the purchase and installation of four propane-fueled generators at the Randolph Harley Power Plant. These generators, which are expected to be “renewable [fuels] compatible” are expected to add 40 MW to the St. Thomas and St. John grid.

This change to more efficient generators using cleaner fuels will also be more cost-efficient and decrease costs for consumers, according WAPA Executive Director Lawrence Kupfer.

Since the hurricanes which affected the electricity grid, WAPA’s “transformation plan” has centered on increasing the use of renewable energy. However, only “1.4 percent of the the energy that [WAPA] produce comes from renewable, free energy”, according to Mr. Kupfer. Further projects are needed to reach a higher percentage of renewable energy generation and take advantage of the islands’ potential for solar and wind energy generation, he added.

Solar energy projects are currently in planning phase, including a 30MW solar plant which could be installed by the end of 2020, using a USD 779 million Federal Housing and Urban Development CDBG Recovery Fund as financing.