Christiansted boardwalk had new lights installed in May. The 50 LED (light emitting diodes) lights with solar panels were assembled by Eco Innovations VI, of St. Croix and installed by Benton Construction Company of St. Croix. The total cost of the project was $390,000.
The project is the last major project administrated by the V.I Energy Office with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Energy Office granted $965,000 to Department of Public Works. DPW used part of those funds last year to change the traffic lights in the territory to LEDs. Over three-fourths of the old lights on the boardwalk were not working. The LEDs will use about a third of the power that the old lights used and the electricity will come from the solar panels.
Don Buchanan, media information specialist at the Energy Office, said, “The boardwalk lighting project is special because it brings light, with renewable energy, to an area that is attractive to both residents and tourists in the Virgin Islands. However, we should point out that this is just one project in a series of projects where the Virgin Islands government has been able to use funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to cut the territory’s dependency on fossil fuel and cut its electricity bill. We still have a way to go to reach our goal of cutting our fossil fuel consumption 60 per cent by 2025, but projects like this bring us one step closer.”
The total amount of ARRA funds administered through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant by the Energy Office was $9,593,000.
The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority also turned to highly-efficient, LED lights when spending the money granted to it by the Energy Office. Its street lighting upgrade two years ago involved replacing 972 high pressure sodium street lights with LED street lights to reduce the power consumption of the lights. Each LED streetlight uses less than half of the power of the light it replaces. The second activity taken on by WAPA with its $2.5 million, energy grant was the installation of a Street Light Management System. The system notifies WAPA personnel of any street lights that are on during the day and allows them to turn the light off remotely. The system also provides notification of any lights that are not working at night and graphically shows where the failed light is. This allows repair crews to go directly to the failed light and not have to drive around at night looking for failed lights.
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) was awarded $2,949,000 in ARRA funds administered by the Energy Office. The VIPA project was the installation of a solar panel system to reduce the energy bills at the Cyril E King airport. The system, which is 452 kilowatts and connected to WAPA for net-metering was completed late in 2011. The array is ground mounted and is made up of over 1800 PV panels. The system is working and providing even more energy savings than had been projected.
The Waste Management Authority (WMA) was awarded $3,014,046 under the ARRA programs administered by the V.I. Energy Office. This money was used to install a landfill gas-to-energy system at the Bovoni landfill on St. Thomas. The methane gas that is collected is used to power an 815 kilowatt generator. The WMA will be compensated for the power fed into the grid through a Power Purchase Agreement with WAPA and those funds will be used to help pay the electrical bills from other WMA facilities. A second generator will be installed in the future once the landfill is fully capped and there is additional methane available.
Buchanan added, “The Energy Office is proud of the success of these project, but we know it could not have happened if not for the hard work of our partners – Waste Management, WAPA, Public Works, and the Port Authority.