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St. Thomas With Its Renewable Energy

The Virgin Islands offer some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and vistas. Preserving that landscape is of incredible importance, especially if we want other people to be able to enjoy that beauty in generations to come. 

Part of that means investing in renewable energy sources that can provide for the islands without pollution. 

The USVI government is committed to the goal of reducing foreign oil dependence and focused on renewable energies for exactly that reason. Here’s some of the exciting work being done by the USVI to ensure the Islands’ energy independence and greener futures. 

100% Energy Transition

One of the core components of any future energy plan in the Virgin Islands is the commitment made by the USVI to eventually reach 100% renewable energy solutions. That means that they have been heavily invested in green energy production, looking to find the best ways to balance the US Virgin Islands’ natural energy resources to provide the best and most reliable energy network possible. 

Currently, the goal on the road to 100% renewable energy is to reach 60% renewable energy by 2025. 

Why 100% Renewable Energy? 

There are several reasons for the US Virgin Islands to try and transition to renewable energy. One of the most important reasons though is simply the cost of electricity. A decade ago, in 2010, the islands were hit by energy prices that had soared to 4 times the average in the mainland United States. 

Those prices were the start of the goal, with agreements made to reach the 60% goal post by 2025. 

The US Virgin Islands is supported by the Energy Development in Island Nations group, (EDIN) which works to help islands across the globe make the transition to renewable energy sources. 

The EDIN has worked in partnership with the USVI to try and find the best balance of solar, wind, waste to energy, and other renewable options for the island. 

The Virgin Island Water and Power Authority (WAPA) is also making strides toward renewable energy sources, partially with their own funding and partially with help from other agencies interested in creating renewable energy. 

Energy Improvements That Have Already Happened

Of course, nothing happens all at once, so the Virgin Islands have already made several improvements on the path toward 100% renewable energy. In 2010 the first reverse osmosis and waste heat recovery systems were installed at the St. Croix power plant. 

The systems were able to add 19 MW (Mega Watts) of power to the island and are completely oil independent. Between the two power sources, the power plant was able to turn off its diesel boilers, which saves almost 2,000 gallons of fuel every hour. 

The USVI has also made energy efficiency improvements to 11 different schools across the Virgin Islands. That means quality education without polluting the surrounding environment. The improvements were made in 2011 and saved roughly $1.3 million in energy costs the next year. 

Those savings allowed the government to authorize additional spending on school energy improvements, totaling $35 million spent on retrofitting water and lighting systems in more schools. 

Solar Energy in St. Thomas

The year 2011 was an exciting year when it came to energy efficiency improvements for the Islands. At the same time that schools were being updated for more efficient systems, St. Thomas became home to the first utility-scale power source. The USVI installed a solar panel system. It was installed at Cyril E. King Airport and was the largest solar installation of its kind in the Caribbean when it was installed. 

In 2012 WAPA then signed an agreement to help speed up the transition by setting up an interconnection process to help different communities access the power supplies in different regions. 

Between these different improvements, the solar system helped produce energy for St. Thomas for significantly less cost than making the same energy by burning diesel. 

Later, in 2015 a second solar plant was installed on St. Thomas. The smaller installation provides an additional 5 MWs of power to the island. There are future plans for additional PV (photovoltaic energy) solar plants that will provide 3 MW of power for St. Thomas. Another installation intended to be built in tandem with the first will provide 9 MW of power to St. Croix. 

Future Plans

In addition to the renewable energy installations we’ve already discussed, there are additional plans to open biomass and wind energy plants on St. Croix. The hope is that these plants will get the islands that much closer to the 60% renewable energy use by 2025, while also providing a sustainable model for other islands to follow on their path to renewable energy use. 

Visiting the Virgin Islands as a tourist is a fantastic way to support the energy initiatives of the island. Your trip can help pave the way to a greener future. Tourism provides vital funding for the Virgin Islands and helps keep the government working and make big-budget projects like these possible. Come see why so many people are dedicated to protecting the environment of these islands for yourself, and help make it possible for the Virgin Islands to meet their renewable energy goals!

Sonic Charters.

Renewable Energy In St. Thomas was last modified: June 4th, 2024 by admin