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St. Johnians Can Help Keep their Electricity Flowing

Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) Chief Executive Officer Hugo V. Hodge, Jr. and Karl Knight, Director of the VI Energy Office (VIEO) are always combining their efforts to identify new and innovative ways to reduce the vast multitude of energy issues facing the territory.

So it was no surprise when Hodge sought approval from the WAPA Board for the two to team up and seek a grant worth more than $10 million to create a solar micro grid system on the island of St. John. The project, formally known as the Solar Distributed Generation and Intelligence Grid (DG+IG), will form a partnership between WAPA, VIEO and the Clean Coalition. The Clean Coalition, a company based out of Palo Alto, has as its mission the creation of programs to aid in the development of cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

Under the grant proposal submitted by the VIEO, the plan is to create a demonstration system on the island of St. John which will produce 25 percent of the island’s energy needs from a newly installed solar system. In addition, there will be a storage system associated with this new grid which will help to “smooth out” the quality of the electricity available on the grid.

“By including the storage element in this plan,” Hodge stated during the Board meeting, “Intermittent electrical dips possibly caused by changes in cloud coverage will be avoided. The battery system will help to regulate the quality of the current throughout the system.”

St. Johnians should consider this to be great news since they on occasion suffer from what is known as “brown outs” where significant dips in the quality or voltage of their current has the potential to harm electrical equipment.
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