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WAPA Board Meets Eding Renewable Energy Project Representative Today

(Monday, August 17, 2009)

Despite inclement weather, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s Governing Board met at its videoconferencing facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix today to address the agenda set for their regular monthly meeting. During one of the highlights of the meeting, Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., WAPA’s Executive Director introduced Adam Warren from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) who is in the territory facilitating the groundwork associated with WAPA’s designation as an Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) Project Partner.

WAPA received this designation from the Department of Energy in April through the collaborative efforts of WAPA, the V.I. Energy Office, and the DeJongh Administration. According to Hodge, the Virgin Islands’ effort will focus on deploying the maximum amount of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies to achieve specific and measurable clean energy targets. This is consistent with WAPA’s strategic business plan and it complements the utility’s recent announcement of the selection of a waste to energy solution as its initial venture into alternative and renewable energy generation. A specific work plan is under development that will identify key needs, projects, and goals that EDIN will help WAPA achieve. The approach and plan will build upon the experience that the United States has gained through participating in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), which aims to meet 70 percent of the state's energy needs with clean energy sources by 2030. Both the Hawaii and V.I. efforts will focus on using indigenous renewable energy resources and improved energy efficiency. Addressing technology, policy, and finance aspects will be part of the effort to achieve their goals. Launched in August 2008, EDIN is an international partnership between Iceland, New Zealand and the United States to further the use of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies in island nations and territories.

In a related matter, Karl Knight, Assistant Policy Advisor to the Governor explained that WAPA may be eligible for $2.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program for circuit reconfiguration. WAPA will resubmit its project grant request with additional information this week.

The Board voted on the following:

  • Approved the purchase of 69/34 kV underground high voltage cable from Electric Supply of Tampa in the amount of $2,179,800 to support the interconnection of any new generation facilities awarded through the alternative and renewal energy request for proposal (RFP). The approved purchase will help to lock in lower copper prices in a volatile copper market
  • Authorized the Executive Director to obtain an appraisal and negotiate the terms for the sale of a portion of land (approximately 0.211 acres) in Hannah’s Rest, Frederiksted to Ka-Ma-Kris, a business located on the adjacent property in the area.
  • Authorized payment to the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources in the amount of $248,816 for Calendar Year 2008 Title V Permit Emission Fees for the Estate Richmond and Harley generating stations
  • Authorized management to extend a contract with Ernst and Young, LLP in the amount of $267,000 for an additional year to perform an independent audit of the Authority’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.
  • Authorized the renewal of the Authority’s employee health insurance policy with CIGNA effective September 1, 2009 at a cost of $3,971,453 which represents an increase of 5.6% or $210,607 from WAPA’s 2008 policy. Through several cost saving initiatives the utility was able to minimize the premium increase originally calculated by CIGNA at 15.2%.