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Monday, October 2, 2023
HomeNewsLocal newsSt. Croix May Experience Outages as WAPA Tests Propane System

St. Croix May Experience Outages as WAPA Tests Propane System

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s conversion to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or propane) as a primary source of fuel in the generation of electricity will continue this week, and residents may experience intermittent service interruptions during this phase of testing, the utility warned.

WAPA Executive Director/CEO Julio A. Rhymer, Sr. said beginning Tuesday, residents may experience short-lived service interruptions as technicians carry out a series of power rejection tests.

“These tests are used to evaluate the unit’s reaction and response to forced outages or unanticipated drops in load," Rhymer said in a news release issued by WAPA Sunday. "For the last week and a half, plant personnel along with technical staff from General Electric and VITOL have been testing generating Unit 20’s ability to burn propane. All has gone well to date.”

Rhymer said technical staff are reviewing data generated each day as the unit burns propane.

“They are fine tuning, analyzing data and increasing the load on the generator while it burns LPG to test its capabilities. Unit 20 is one of three generators at the Estate Richmond Power Plant that has been converted from oil as a sole fuel source to a tri-fuel operation. The other converted units are Units 16 and 17 and we should begin their testing shortly.”

Rhymer said that at one point during the commissioning, Unit 20 was running 100 percent on propane, producing as much as 20 megawatts of electrical power.

“Once the testing is completed, Unit 20 will continue to burn LPG to power St. Croix and technicians will shift the focus to commissioning the other units," he said. 

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