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Friday, December 9, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWAPA NEEDS TO FACE IT: THEY CAN'T GO IT ALONE

WAPA NEEDS TO FACE IT: THEY CAN'T GO IT ALONE

Dear Source,
I see from an article in The Source (see WAPA Gets Another Experimental Power Offer) that the Water and Power Authority, our perennial bureaucratic ostrich, still has its head buried in the sand. Several years ago, a company called Genotec offered to build an OTEC [ocean thermal energy conversion] plant on St. Croix, only to be stifled and stymied by the bureaucracy, and then Caribe Waste Technologies offered a system and was stonewalled by WAPA, and now we have a newcomer trying to breach the walls of that impregnable dinosaur again. I applaud them all, and am astonished that WAPA continues to be so intransigent in its opposition. Today, I read that WAPA is generating a surplus of power. If WAPA is generating a surplus of power currently, why the all too frequent outages?
For years, we on St. Croix have lived with a utility company that offers more excuses than kilowatts and continues to burn fossil fuels. It is no secret that our generating plant is old and shopworn and there is no backup generation facility to allow maintenance without shutting down the station.
In the United States, a utility company can simply purchase power from the grid while going off-line for maintenance, but not so here. WAPA has only one generating plant on the island. When it goes down, we are all without power. Yet, every time some alternative is offered, the officials at WAPA are quick to say that they don't need any.
While I realize that the tendency for any bureaucrat is to do nothing that doesn't further his own empire and power, the time has come for those at WAPA to wake up and smell the coffee. With all the problems at WAPA, and with the economy of St. Croix in the toilet, can we afford to pass up yet another opportunity to do something positive? There is no chance for improvement if we do nothing. We must take our opportunities where they come, and make the most of them if we are to have any hope of advancing our situation. A "green" energy project seems to be a wonderful opportunity to do something positive, if only we will take it. Keeping our heads in the sand, on the other hand, not only blinds us to opportunity, but also exposes the other end of our anatomy rather blatantly.
Rich Waugh
St. Croix
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