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Preface: In the 26th Legislature, I submitted legislation for drafting that would build new electric plants, one for St. Thomas-St. John, one for St. Croix. That was three years ago. With the crisis upon us, we must move forward without delay. Staggering WAPA bills are hurting our people. High costs and low reliability threaten to cripple our economy and standard of living. The days of burning oil to generate electricity are over; oil has become too expensive to burn.

I will brief you on my proposal, and the competing mid-term, and short-term solutions to our energy crisis.

The Proposal | The Alternatives | Mid-term Solutions | Short-term Solutions | The Best Solution

One concrete plan for the Virgin Islands is as follows:

Build a solar plant on 400 acres that would produce 64 Megawatts. (Four hundred acres is 0.6% of St. Croix's land area). This would meet all of St. Croix's needs, with some to spare. A similar plant must be built for St. Thomas-St. John, although undersea cables may shortly be cost-effective, allowing the islands to share. Each plant will cost roughly $300 million.

The solar plant uses parabolic mirrors to heat a working fluid to 700° F. This fluid then drives a Rankin-cycle steam turbine, just like a conventional coal-fired plant. After 9:00 pm, the heat from the sun is used up, and we must burn petroleum coke ("petcoke"), coal, or other inexpensive fuel.

Petcoke is a strong contender because the Hovensa oil refinery produces petcoke as a byproduct. It burns like coal, but it is practically free. It is relatively "dirty" to burn. Scrubbing the exhaust is too expensive in regions where electricity costs 10¢ per kilowatt-hour, however this is no worry when we’re paying 50¢ per kilowatt-hour. When we can pay 18¢ per kilowatt-hour, we will be delighted to burn petcoke and scrub the exhaust. When we stop burning expensive oil, we can afford to pay for the highest level of scrubbing.

rev. 2008.09.12

Campaign Address
Box 456-Cruz Bay
St. John, VI 00831
Tel: 340.693.5000