Alternatives to the LEAC Nightmare

Dear Source:

Last Friday evening, in the midst of watching the evening news, we suffered a power black out which was local in nature. The WAPA line crew was expedient in their arrival and promptly and also quite cheerfully restored our power in record time. As an engineer with over 30 years experience, it was quite a treat to watch these professionals accomplish their task at hand. My hat is off to these guys–working around 14,000 volts on high-tension lines is no party… Again, A great big Thank You from my family and I.
Not to take away from the above, I decided to read the Power Supply Evaluation of WAPA; a very interesting report. A report which basically tells us that we are at the mercy of the LEAC nightmare until alternative means is available, which is pretty much four years away. I hope that WAPA uses what remains of its financial ability to bring in Wind Power on an expedited basis and I would venture to say that even 20 MW might be a better deal than 10. By the way, I was shocked and rather dismayed to find out from the report that WAPA is some 245 million dollars in debt. Yes, we need to open out the books for everyone to see. I am also somewhat puzzled as to why no mention of the existing coal fired plant at the St Croix Renaissance was made–especially as an interim solution. Further, while I agree with report that Slow Speed Diesel Engines consuming #6 Oil would be a permitting problem, but why was their no mention made of utilizing Natural Gas in Slow Speed Diesel Engines? WAPA needs to get started on those Wind Powered Turbines–and quickly… I also concur with the Reverse Osmosis proposal to replace the IDE units, but caution must be exercised; as with any mechanical means, maintenance is the key word to continued efficient operation.
LNG dual fired combustion turbines are great and would lower emissions for a minimal cost (you can do the same thing with oil fired boilers too), but let's be very careful on this one; I suggest that interested parties should research the Port and Facility requirements for an LNG Offloading and Storage Facilities–there are stringent regulations with regard to this; all very carefully administrated by various Federal Agencies. Oh and by the way, Crude is dropping below $100 a barrel–when can we expect WAPA to trim the LEAC?

Joseph P. Stropole
Frederiksted, St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to

Print Friendly, PDF & Email