Virgin Islands authority to pursue solar and smart grid plan

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Governing Board will partner with the Virgin Islands Energy Office and the nonprofit organization Clean Coalition, to pursue a Solar Distributed Generation and Intelligence Grid (DG+IG) solution project for the island of St. John.
Virgin Islands authority to pursue solar and smart grid plan

The decision came as the board met in emergency session to vote on a fiscal austerity plan that slashes about $2.2 million from the authority's budget.

“The fact that there is one substation and about 8 to 9 MW of load, makes St. John the ideal location for this type of demonstration project,” said Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge Jr.

St. John is among the 4-6 communities nationwide where Clean Coalition is organizing a project of this kind. Hodge says the project will allow for a significant amount of renewable penetration, much more than what is currently believed to be allowable by an intermittent resource.

“It will take a commitment of the entire community to see this come to fruition,” said Hodge. “Many times we hear from the community that they want these types of projects, so we are confident that the public will step up to provide the required land to make this a realization.”

However, the solar and smart grid initiative is viewed as a definitive and needed step toward reducing the authority's reliance on fossil fuel.

The partnership will seek funding through the U.S. Department of Commerce, which then will enable WAPA to issue a request for proposal for the planning, design, and construction of a solar demonstration project on St. John that will ensure that at least 25 percent of electric energy delivered by the St. John distribution grid substation is supplied from approximately 11.6 MW of local solar energy generation. WAPA will collect up-front network access fees from solar developers to cover WAPA’s share of the energy storage costs and WAPA will own and maintain intelligent grid solutions to facilitate the DG+IG Project.

The emergency meeting was necessary to allow the partners to meet the grant submittal deadline, which is next week.

For additional information:

Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority

Tags: Solar , Grid , Smart grid , Fuel , Storage
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