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Wartsila Project Nearing Completion with Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)Installation Underway

Apr 04, 2023

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (“WAPA” or “Authority”) would like to provide the public with an update on the Randolph Harley Power Plant (RHPP) New Generation Project that includes the installation of four 9 MW Wartsila generators and a 9 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

BESS, a key component of the Wartsila project that will aid in fortifying and creating additional redundancy for the Authority’s electrical grid, is now in the process of being integrated into the RHPP system. Battery energy storage systems work by utilizing the latest in battery technology to store excess energy generated during periods of low demand and release it during peak periods. This helps to stabilize the grid and reduce the need for more operationally expensive generators to be brought online during periods of high demand. As one of the remaining steps to bringing the Wartsilas online, this integration process is a key step to ensuring optimal performance and reliability.

The Wartsila project which began in 2021 will be a major contributor towards providing more affordable and reliable power generation to the territory—specifically the Randolph Harley Power Plant (RHPP). RHPP currently provides electrical generation to the island of St. Thomas, as well as Water Island and St. John by using underwater electrical cables that run for miles to distribute electricity.

"The upcoming completion of the Wartsila project will be a significant milestone for our power plant and our community," noted Chavante Marsh, Director of Project Management at the Authority. "The new Wartsila generators will help us provide a reliable and sustainable source of power for our customers, while also allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint by switching from diesel to propane generation."

The Wartsila generators feature state-of-the-art technology that enables them to operate efficiently, providing notable cost savings and with much less environmental impact than their diesel counterparts which will benefit the entire territory. The Randolph Harley New Generation Project is completely funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.