This Week’s Senate Calendar

Here’s what’s on tap at the V.I. Legislature this week.

Audio Galleries

Half a dozen young people, local artists and music producers have created a peace song for Carnival 2014. To read more about the song, click here.

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VING to Conduct Field Training Exercises on St. Croix, June 1-5

The Virgin Islands National Guard (VING) will conduct its annual field training exercise from June 1-5 at its primary location at the Estate Bethlehem Military Compound on St. Croix, but the exercise will include scenarios at various sites across the island.

2016-05-28 00:42:10
CFVI, Prior Family Foundation Award Scholarships to V.I. Students

The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) has awarded scholarships to three Virgin Island students to attend the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Mich.

2016-05-28 00:27:59
Beach Advisory for May 23-27

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) announces that the Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program, which evaluates weekly water quality at popular swimming beaches throughout the territory by sampling for Enterococci Bacteria and Turbidity, which is a measure of water clarity, advises the public of the following:

2016-05-27 20:43:36
Local news — St. Croix
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Governor Flips Switch on Airport's Solar-Powered System

Gov. John deJongh Jr. speaks during Wednesday's press conference.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. speaks during Wednesday's press conference.

After a year of planning and months of labor, the Cyril E. King Airport solar panel system was energized for the first time Wednesday, with the flick of a switch from Gov. John deJongh Jr.

A joint project between the V.I. Port Authority and V.I. Energy Office, construction of the 450-kilowatt system began in February, following approval by VIPA's governing board in September 2010.

The new system is 1,600 feet long and 21 feet wide, and was paid for by $2.9 million in funding received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

At a press conference Wednesday, VIPA's Executive Director Kenn Hobson said the system will shave at least 15 percent off the authority's power bills, which have been as high as $400,000 a month. The authority has been looking at other ways to cut costs on water and electricity, and has also used solar lights to illuminate the parking lot and access roads at the airport.

Solar panels have just been put in the Enighed Pond parking lot, and VIPA will be soon conducting a study on St. Croix to see where it can implement additional systems to help with the bills, Hobson said.

"We hope to be able to pass this savings on to the public by making additional improvements to our facilities," Hobson said.

V.I. Energy Office Director Karl Knight said officials had talked about the system being the "flagship project" in the larger effort to reduce the government's energy consumption by 60 percent by 2025.

"We wanted something very visible, very tangible, so it's no coincidence that this system is at the airport," Knight said.

How the territory hits that 60-percent marker is all part of the ongoing Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) program, an international partnership focused on the unique power-generation problems and opportunities of island nations, which traditionally rely heavily on petroleum.

In late 2009, the United States decided to make the U.S. Virgin Islands its EDIN pilot project, giving technical and some financial assistance to help meet the governor's 2025 goal and to create a comprehensive energy standard that other island nations can follow.

Speaking at Wednesday's press conference, deJongh said that while talking to EDIN officials about the program two years ago, he realized that the territory had to be "willing to be committed to energy conservation" and "aggressive" about making it happen.

He said the approximately $33,000 the Port Authority will be saving each month can be reinvested into the economy.

DeJongh said that the project was also an opportunity to get local youth interested in the concept of green technology. Throughout the construction project, subcontractor OneWorld Sustainable out of Georgia implemented an educational outreach program that brought in interns from UVI to work on the system, and will soon be donating 1 kilowatt of a solar system to the St. Croix Educational Complex, deJongh announced.

The contractor on the project was All Rounder System out of St. Croix, in conjunction with Veteran's General Contracting, Inc.

Speaking during the program Wednesday, All Rounder's co-principal Peter Sites called the system and the governor's call for a 60-percent reduction the "wave of the future."

"Let's hope this will be the first in a long string of large renewable clean energy projects that will radically alter the way we generate the preponderance of the electricity we use," Sites said.

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So where are the Governor and all these wonderful, resourceful, power saving plans and groups when someone in the private sector is trying to "GO GREEN" by putting in wind generators and such??? TUTU mall? Penalizing the public and especially the project at the TUTU mall, those generators are now seized and inoperable. No protocal, the lack of DPNR and other factions having no clue what to do when someone trys to do the right thing and go through a permitting process that is non-existant and inconsistant with the so-called "GOALS" of this admistration concerning using less and less fossil fuels. The people of these islands need to start using the wind and sun, with little or no obstacles from the factions that will oversee the permitting,etc., processes. Stop being pushed around by the dinosaur WAPA, and get it done!