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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, November 30, 2023


A public hearing Wednesday night on plans by the Water and Power Authority to acquire a $15 million back-up generator on St. Thomas prompted one witness to suggest that WAPA look at alternative solutions to meet the demand for electricity at peak periods.
WAPA officials said the 36-megawatt gas turbine generator for the Krum Bay plant won't cause any significant air pollution and won't cause customers' electric bills to go up, the V.I. Independent reported.
The $15 million is part of a recent WAPA bond issue, assistant executive director Glenn Rothgeb said. The turbine will have little environmental impact, and WAPA air emissions will continue to be well below federal standard for pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, air-quality consultant Michael Luckey said.
However, the Independent reported, community member Malcolm Ford testified that as an alternative to installing the new generator, WAPA could contract with its larger customers who have large generators of their own "to go off-line during peak hours." This would be workable, since the new generator is intended only as back-up he said.
It's standard practice for utilities on the mainland, Ford said, and "a far more cost- effective solution."
WAPA officials said they had not considered such an idea.
Ford also urged WAPA to move toward utilizing solar power in its operations. In the tropics, he said, "solar would be a natural alternative, and it emits no greenhouse gases such as gas turbines do."

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