Distributed Energy Resources

Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority board OKs wind power purchase agreement

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) governing board recently approved a wind power purchase agreement between WAPA and Advance Power LLC.

Under terms of the agreement, Advance Power will develop, finance, permit, design, construct, test, operate and maintain a wind farm at Bovoni Point on St. Thomas.

Project completion is expected within 24 months of the effective date of the contract.

The wind facility, comprised of six wind turbine generators, will produce approximately 10 MW of wind energy that will be sold to WAPA.

Advance Power was the most responsive bidder to a request for proposals issued in April 2017 and negotiations have been underway since August 2017, WAPA said in a news release.

WAPA Interim Executive Director and CEO Noel Hodge said the wind facility will compliment several other similar renewable projects the Authority is pursuing as part of a federally funded strategic transformation plan.

Hodge noted that WAPA has applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approval of solar and wind projects “as we move the needle forward in diversifying our generation mix. We recognize the need for the Authority to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity, and where feasible, WAPA will pursue projects that allow harnessing energy from lower cost sources such as solar and wind.”

Hodge said that the reduction of reliance on fossil fuel for electrical generation will result in operational savings to WAPA and lower the cost of electricity to customers.

The approved agreement lays the foundation for the development of a wind farm capable of generating about a sixth of the total peak power consumption on St. Thomas, WAPA said.

A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) identified the site for wind generation as early as 2012. The report estimated the total capacity of a Bovoni wind farm as between 7,000 and 29,000 megawatt hours per year.

“The wide range of potential energy generation represented by these estimates is a function of the total installed plant size, which is in turn limited by the number of turbines that can be placed on Bovoni Point and varying levels of productivity associated with specific turbine designs,” a summary of the report said.

WAPA said that the report also estimated that the cost of generation would be much lower than the cost of oil or liquid petroleum gas-based generation.

The governing board voted unanimously on March 25 to approve the agreement with Advance Power.