Jan. 17, 2007 The V.I. Water and Power Authority is making final preparations to institute its fuel-hedging program, which got its impetus back in 2006 when the price of oil had skyrocketed to almost $75 per barrel.
The program was approved by the WAPA board in August 2006 and by the Public Services Commission four months later.
During its regular monthly meeting this week, authority board members noted that three individuals have been selected within the company to maintain records related to the hedge program. "This will make the project transparent," WAPA Executive Director Alberto Bruno-Vega said.
According to Bruno-Vega, the program provides a safety net for WAPA and its customers by setting an anticipated cap price and floor price for fuel. When the cost of fuel exceeds the cap, the fuel-hedging program would kick in and WAPA would not have to pay anything above that cap price.
With oil now trading at approximately $51 per barrel, Bruno-Vega said that now is "the most advantageous time to make a deal –while the prices are low."
Affordable, Alternative Energy
In other related news, the WAPA board is still considering options for more affordable and efficient energy sources. Alberto Bruno-Vega explained that options in WAPA's energy portfolio include:
— a multi-use system called a "circulate fluid boiler," which can alternate between burning peat coke and coal;
— wind power, which Bruno-Vega referred to as still "very profitable";
— interconnection through a South American company seeking to run hydroelectric power through the island chains to the Virgin Islands;
— geothermal power, which utilizes heat energy trapped under the Earth's surface (Bruno Vega explained that the island of Saba utilizes this power source);
–waste to energy, in which waste from the landfill would be converted into renewable energy (This would be an initiative of the Waste Management Authority, Bruno-Vega said);
–ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC); Bruno-Vega said there are sites in the Virgin Islands, "especially on St. Croix" that would be suitable for this venture.
As an additional efficiency measure WAPA is also considering interconnection or a grid between St. Thomas and St. Croix, allowing the authority to combine both island's electrical systems.
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