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WAPA and Propane Conversion Contractor Vitol to Take Delivery for the First of Ten Mega Storage Tanks on Sunday

(Thursday, February 12, 2015)

WAPA and Propane Conversion Contractor Vitol to Take Delivery for the First of Ten Mega Storage Tanks on Sunday; Traffic Changes Will Be in Effect to Allow Tank Movement through Subbase Roadways

Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, Hugo V. Hodge, Jr. today outlined a detailed traffic plan for a Saturday to Monday morning operation in Subbase St. Thomas that will see the arrival and transport of the first two mega tanks, a critical component to the ongoing fuel source conversion. The tanks will store propane fuel which WAPA generators will burn in the production of electricity.

“Sunday’s shipment is the first of several that will transport these mega tanks, or “bullets” as they are referred to in the industry, to their permanent location on Grambakola Hill overlooking the Randolph Harley Krum Bay plant. A total of ten tanks will be deployed on St. Thomas as WAPA continues to move away from 100% dependence on oil for power generation and as a result, lower the cost of electricity to its ratepayers. The lower cost propane and a reduction in oil prices on the market have resulted in lower utility rates this month and further reductions are expected by the middle of summer when both power plants will be burning 100% propane,” Hodge said today.

Led by WAPA Chief Operating Officer Gregory Rhymer, WAPA personnel, representatives of both VITOL and the company charged with transporting the tanks, Mammoet, have worked long and hard over the last several months to choreograph the detailed movement of the tanks from the Crown Bay homeport dock through the winding roads of Subbase, along a newly created roadway and uphill to an area overlooking the WAPA Krum Bay plants where the bulk propane will be stored, Hodge explained.

Hodge said the authority and its contractor have worked closely with the leadership of the VI Port Authority and the Departments of Police, Property and Procurement and Public Works, as well as Innovative, to ensure that Sunday and subsequent movements goes smoothly. “There are minor traffic flow changes in place today along the route as the final movement of utility poles, lines, and other route obstructions are addressed. We ask for the public’s patience over the next few days as we move these huge tanks from Crown Bay to the power plant. We will coordinate with the Port Authority on the movement of the eight additional tanks destined for St. Thomas so as not to conflict with the cruise ship schedule and complicate or delay the arrival of the cruise ship passengers who arrive at the Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal each week. Our project schedule calls for the final tank to be delivered by February 26.”

Hodge said the authority is in the process of an outreach program to businesses on the movement route to “provide them an update on what will be taking place so they can mitigate or minimize any adverse effect on their business operations.” In addition, Hodge asked owners of vehicles and trailers that are parked along the movement route to remove those vehicles which could obstruct the planned operation. “It is critical that the path be clear on Sunday.” the US Coast Guard to ensure all safety and logistical concerns are fully satisfied for their respective operations and responsibilities. It is anticipated that the proposed transport operations will not affect services provided by any marine and boating traffic activity.

The empty storage tanks have been temporarily stored at the container port site on St. Croix since their arrival in July 2014. In October 2014, the first eight storage tanks were transported from the St. Croix Container Port to the Estate Richmond facility on St. Croix. All of the tanks will be installed with 100-percent redundant safety mechanisms and will be encased in earthen and concrete “mounds,” storing propane on-site at the power plants on St. Croix and St. Thomas.

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