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The high cost of energy is a major challenge for the USVI, so WAPA has launched a project to lower energy bills while switching to a cleaner burning fuel.

Switching to propane will lower fuel costs by approximately 30 percent and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 percent.

The Smart Choice

Propane is a safe, practical and environmentally friendly fuel choice. It’s the same fuel used to heat countless outdoor grills, and has even been used to light the Olympic torch.

Myth

Ever-increasing power bills are just a fact of life in the Virgin Islands.

Fact

Switching to propane will save approximately $90 million in annual fuel costs at today’s prices, and those fuel cost savings will translate into significant reductions … More

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Partnering with the global energy company Vitol, WAPA plans to outfit its existing facilities to use propane for power generation. Propane is the best near-term option to significantly reduce the cost of fuel for power generation and lower customers’ utility bills. Ultimately, WAPA’s initiative will deliver an environmentally friendly, lower cost, safe, and reliable source of energy to the USVI.

News Feed

WAPA and Vitol Announce Transport of Propane Tanks from St. Croix Container Port to Estate Richmond Facility

October 3, 2014

WAPA_10.3.14

 

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority

Corporate Communications

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Jerain Fleming, Public Information Officer

340-774-3552 extension 2065 or 340-244-1245

communications@viwapa.vi / www.viwapa.vi

 October 3, 2014

WAPA and Vitol Announce Transport of Propane Tanks from St. Croix Container Port to Estate Richmond Facility

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority and Vitol Virgin Islands Corporation announce their intent to initiate the transport of the LPG storage tanks from the St. Croix container port to the Estate Richmond facility. The transport and delivery operation will be completed in four shipments, beginning this Saturday, October 4, through Friday, October 17.  All tanks will be transported free of propane gas.

On Friday, October 3, the first two, of the eighteen tanks stored at the container port, will be loaded onto a barge at the port. Early Saturday morning, October 4, the barge will begin an approximately seven hour voyage from the island’s south shore to WAPA’s Estate Richmond facility. The barge is expected to arrive into the Christiansted harbor by midday and thereafter proceed down the Estate Richmond channel to the existing WAPA docking facility for unloading. Securing and unloading the barge is expected to take approximately 5 hours. On Monday, October, 6, the barge will depart the Estate Richmond dock and travel back to the container port to reload for the next shipment, duplicating the procedure and process of the previous voyage.

WAPA and Vitol have discussed their intended plan for transporting these tanks with officials from the V.I. Port Authority, Seaborne Airlines and 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 Seaborne Airlines or any marine and boating traffic activity in the Christiansted harbor.

“This project continues to make positive progress,” said WAPA Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., “and we are committed to our goal of lowering electricity rates for the people of the Virgin Islands.”  Hodge said the project is still on track to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

The eighteen empty storage tanks have been temporarily stored at the container port site on St. Croix since their arrival on July 23.  As the project progresses, the remaining ten tanks stored at the container port will be transported and delivered to the St. Thomas, Randolph Harley facility.

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.

For more information and updates on the fuel switching project visit www.poweringVI.vi or like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/PoweringVI.


WAPA Announces Adjustment to Schedule for Propane Projects on St. Thomas and St. Croix

August 14, 2014

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority

Corporate Communications

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Jerain Fleming, Public Information Officer

340-774-3552 extension 2065 or 340-244-1245

communications@viwapa.vi / www.viwapa.vi

August 14, 2014

WAPA Announces Adjustment to Schedule for Propane Projects on St. Thomas and St. Croix

Today the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) announced that its transition to propane as its primary fuel source, which will lead to a decrease in WAPA customers’ utility bills, is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge, Jr. stated, “The new construction schedule will not impact the amount of savings expected for WAPA’s customers or the improvements in air quality that the conversion project will deliver for the territory. We still anticipate a 30% reduction in the cost of fuel, which will be passed along directly to customers.  While this schedule represents an adjustment of a few months we look forward with great anticipation to providing these benefits to the community.  Our entire team is focused on finishing this complex project as quickly and safely as possible.”

Since the initial project announcement on July 25, 2013, WAPA has implemented a very aggressive construction schedule to deliver the benefits of the propane conversion to the Territory as soon as possible.  To accomplish this goal, the Project proceeded with Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) in parallel with procurement and vendor selection and contracting.  To date WAPA has expedited the procurement of long-lead time items and implemented other time-saving measures to compensate for normal permitting and construction delays, including non-availability of construction materials and prolonged vendor negotiations.

Hodge further commented, “From the beginning, we adopted an aggressive strategy that allowed contractors to begin their work and to get this Project completed as early as possible.  Normally, the FEED and the final detailed design are finished sequentially, and only then contractors are engaged.  In our case, because of our desire to advance this project, we did the FEED, detailed design, and procurement, essentially simultaneously.”  Hodge continued, “Since we announced the Project in July 2013, we have made great progress, including moving forward with construction at both facilities and the fabrication and delivery of world class propane tanks designed specifically to safely store propane on WAPA’s existing plants on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Even with this new schedule the conversion to propane will be finished in an impressively short amount of time given the magnitude of this project.”

Adjustments to the project schedule are primarily the result of mandatory expansion of the project scope. The expansion in scope relates to various aspects of permitting and construction that were unforeseen at the time the project was launched last year. WAPA and its contractor, Vitol, are doing everything possible to complete the project as quickly as possible.  These steps include: working six days a week, 10 hours a day; committing to the long lead items necessary for the Project as early as possible; working in parallel on all remaining phases of the Project; and taking steps to allow propane to be introduced in individual turbines as each one becomes converted instead of completing all of the turbines first before propane is used.

Major reasons for the schedule adjustment include:

  • Extended work on the design, procurement, and installation of the necessary resources to upgrade the Authority’s existing fire protection, controls, and systems for the safe use of propane.
  • Undocumented soil conditions and underground obstacles on St. Croix.
  • The volume of rock needed to be moved on St. Thomas was greater than anticipated.
  • The complexity of permitting, contracting, demolishing, and disposing of structures with lead-based paint.
  • Greater challenges than anticipated in coordinating the conversion of the power plants to safely burn propane while simultaneously operating power generating facilities to meet daily electricity demand.
  • The reality of global sourcing of all the materials and equipment for the Project.
  • Adverse weather conditions in the early phases of the Project.
  • Compliance with additional regulatory requirements to assure the safety and the security of the marine aspect of the Project, including necessary redesigns.

The Project, which entails building the infrastructure needed to handle and store propane and converting seven (7) of WAPA’s GE turbines to burn propane, is expected to reduce WAPA’s fuel cost by approximately 30%, or $90 million annually, which will be realized by ratepayers. The project will also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by approximately 20%.  The schedule adjustment will not alter these benefits.

The Project has already achieved many accomplishments including, completing all major permitting, fabrication of 18 propane storage tanks in Belgium, delivery of 10 tanks to date, building new propane delivery vessels (the Epic Curacao and Epic Caledonia) to deliver liquefied propane to WAPA’s facilities, execution of a propane supply agreement between Vitol and WAPA, construction site preparation, and commencement of work to convert WAPA’s generating units to burn propane.

For more information and updates on the fuel switching projects visit www.poweringVI.vi or like our facebook page www.facebook.com/PoweringVI.

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