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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, August 14, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWAPA Beginning to Pursue Wind Power

WAPA Beginning to Pursue Wind Power

The V.I. Water and Power Authority is making preliminary preparations to add utility-scale wind power to the territory’s grid in the next two or three years, according to a release from WAPA.

With help from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the authority and the V.I. Energy Office have been evaluating commercial wind projects in Jamaica, Aruba and Nevis, WAPA said.

In the statement, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said utility-scale wind power represents one of the lowest cost sources of energy generation.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a study in 2012 evaluating the potential for wind energy in the territory. Based on a preliminary screening of wind resource maps, local input and existing land, the study pointed to the Estate Bovoni peninsula on the southeast coast of St. Thomas, among many possible sites, as a good first candidate for utility-scale wind power.

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That site looks good for utility-scale power production when considering wind resource, distance from residences and developable terrain, WAPA’s statement said. Sites on St. Thomas were generally preferred due to its higher overall (and peak) demand for electricity. The case study can be reviewed at www.nrel.gov/docs.

During the last year, the Energy Office has erected anemometers at Estate Bovoni on St. Thomas and on the southeastern corridor of St. Croix to collect the data required for WAPA to issue a Request for Proposal by the end of this year. WAPA will seek qualified companies from which to purchase up to 25MW of commercial wind energy.

V.I. Energy Office Director Karl Knight said in the statement that wind power should save customers money, adding to savings anticipated from switching from oil to propane gas-fired generation and the introduction of 18 megawatts of solar energy to the grid, both scheduled to come online within the next year.

According to WAPA, it expects its development of utility-scale wind and solar projects in the V.I. to contribute at least 9 percent towards Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s goal of a 60 percent reduction in fossil fuel use by 2025.

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