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HomeNewsArchivesBrief: Federal Grant to Help Territory Reduce Petroleum Imports

Brief: Federal Grant to Help Territory Reduce Petroleum Imports

April 11, 2008 — The U.S. Department of the Interior presented the governor
with a check for $50,000 Thursday at Government House, dedicated to the V.I. Energy Office's comprehensive energy strategy for the territory.
The grant is designed to assist the Energy Office in developing a strategy to reduce the territory's dependence on imported petroleum. Presenting the check to Gov. John deJongh Jr. was Nick Pula, deputy assistant secretary of Interior.
"In seeking avenues to drive down the high costs of energy, the V.I. Energy Office has already begun formulating important next steps in reducing our dependency on foreign oil and developing alternative-energy solutions in the territory," deJongh said. "This grant award from the U.S. Department of the Interior is a timely contribution towards our local development of the strategies needed to implement 21st century renewable-energy systems and technologies."
Some of the alternatives to petroleum-based energy production considered in the V.I. Energy Office's comprehensive strategy include technologies that generate energy using geothermal, wind, solar, coal, ocean thermal energy and burning municipal trash. The strategy includes looking at the feasibility of buying electricity from other island districts at lower costs. Incentives are also in place to reduce consumption, including rebates for installing energy-efficient home and office equipment.
"With the V.I. Energy Office on target to officially move under the Office of the Governor later this month," deJongh said, "we are signaling this administration's top priority on devising a comprehensive energy strategy that reduces our dependency on fuel oil for energy production. We are pleased to receive this important grant award and will continue to coordinate with the U.S. Department of the Interior moving forward."
Joining deJongh for the ceremony were Energy Office Director Bevan Smith, University of the Virgin Islands President Dr. Laverne Ragster and other senior administration staff members.
Pula and other federal and territorial officials will testify on St. Croix Saturday at a joint oversight hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs and the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources regarding energy issues in the U.S. territories. The high cost of oil and current opportunities for using alternative-energy technologies will be discussed.
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