Powering Strong Communities

Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Pursuing Microgrid Projects

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority recently provided an update on its efforts to introduce microgrids to the territory as the Authority continues to prioritize grid reliability and redundancy to reduce outages for its customers.

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority said that microgrids will enhance the resilience of the Authority’s local energy supply by providing backup power during grid failures, such as loss of generation at the Richmond power plant on St. Croix or the Randolph Harley power plant on St. Thomas or outages caused by vehicle accidents or overgrown trees.

On St. John, where the Authority intends to introduce the first of three microgrids in the territory, a feasibility study began earlier this year in February.

Taking the lead on the first step of this project, the Authority’s System Planning department is collaborating with contractors EE Plus, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sargent & Lundy to assess the current microgrid project proposal for St. John.

The project is expected to include 4 megawatts of renewable solar generation, an emergency generation unit and corresponding battery energy storage system.

Upon completion of the feasibility studies, findings will be submitted to Federal Emergency Management Agency for review and approval, followed by design, procurement and construction.

The current microgrid project slated for St. John will be funded 90% through FEMA with a 10% local match.

On St. Thomas and St. Croix, project proposals are underway, and information will be forthcoming, “as the Authority implements steps towards improved energy efficiency, reduced transmission losses, integration of renewable energy sources, and enhanced grid resilience,” it said.