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Participate and Have Your Voice Heard

The public is invited to attend an Energy Workshop being held on Sept. 15 at the University of the Virgin Islands – St. Croix campus.

During the workshop experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the US Department of Energy, the US Department of the Interior, the VI Energy Office (VIEO), the VI Water and Power Authority (WAPA) and the private sector will report on feasibility studies and analyses that have played a major role in the development of the USVI Energy Road Map. The purpose of the workshop, which is the fifth since the EDIN-USVI project was launched in February 2010, is to involve the community in building on the momentum generated by recent progress, including the solar installation at Cyril E. King Airport and the energy efficiency upgrades that are under way at 12 local schools.

As the USVI Energy Road Map is unveiled, project directors Hugo Hodge Jr. and Karl Knight, along with working group leads will consult with stakeholders, interested local business leaders and community members on projects aimed at promoting energy efficiency, transportation improvements, education and workforce development, and renewable energy generation in the USVI.

Local policy makers are encouraging community-wide involvement in the project and urge interested community members to collaborate with active project supporters representing local businesses and nonprofits. Recently named VIenergize Partners include: Quality Electric Supply (QES), Asencios Construction, Luis G. Huertas, Horizon Energy Systems VI, Silva Energy and AARP. Workshop breakout sessions will focus on implementing key strategies identified for achieving a 60 percent reduction in fossil fuel consumption in the USVI by 2025.

For years Virgin Islands residents have been very concerned about the skyrocketing cost of utilities and have demanded that leaders take action to free them from total dependence on fossil fuels. Over the past year the VI DOE, WAPA, WMA and the Governor’s office have been working with NREL, EDIN, the Department of the Interior and other consultants to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve this goal. VI decision makers heard these cries of Virgin Islanders and are taking meaningful action to reduce the territory’s dependency on oil for energy.

In June 2010, EDIN-USVI announced the formation of five integrated working groups focused on specific challenges: Education and Workforce Development, Policy and Analysis, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Transportation. The working groups are comprised of USVI-based project partners and technical advisors with the NREL. The quarterly EDIN-USVI workshops provide an opportunity for the working groups to report on progress, network, and engage in face-to-face planning sessions.

Each quarter a workshop has been held to give stakeholders an opportunity to meet with EDIN partners and members of the U.S. Virgin Islands Energy Action Team, project working groups, and local clean energy champions from the community.

Energy Development in Island Nations, (EDIN) is an international partnership focused on addressing the unique energy challenges islands face by advancing the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. In the USVI, EDIN is a collaborative effort among many public and private groups led by the DOE, DOI, VIEO, and WAPA. The USVI was selected as EDIN’s first U.S. pilot project. The purpose of the project is to support the USVI’s goal of reducing fossil fuel consumption in the electricity and transportation sectors 60 percent by 2025.

Find more information on EDIN-USVI, or to subscribe to the EDIN-USVI Clean Energy Quarterly newsletter.