Tim Moos asked the V.I. Answer Desk for an update as to when the power-generating windmills at Tutu Mall will start running.
Tim, your question is timely because the two windmills, or turbines, are scheduled tentatively to start turning Tuesday morning, according to an exuberant Tutu Park Mall developer John Foster.
Erected in late 2008, the turbines’ operation was held up by opposition from the V.I. Water and Power Authority, which petitioned the V.I. Public Service Commission to revoke Island Wind Power’s Qualified Facility Status.
The issue finally was resolved when the PSC’s hearing examiner found that Island Wind Power’s turbines met all the legal criteria for interconnection.
“It has been a long road, but we are looking forward to interconnecting with WAPA’s grid and getting the turbines spinning,” Emily Sabo, attorney for Island Wind Power, said.
Once they commence revolving, Tutu’s two turbines will provide rated output of 100 kilowatts energy to the mall, or about enough to power the mall’s air conditioning, according to Sabo.
“Turbines aren’t meant to be erected and stand still for this amount of time,” Sabo said. “So my client is taking every precaution and having the turbines inspected and reinspected by local on-island electricians as well as the turbine manufacturer prior to interconnecting with WAPA’s grid.”
At this time, no big hoopla is planned for the spin-up of the long-awaited alternative energy source. However, the PSC is conducting a public hearing on the question of whether Island Wind Power is a public utility.
The outcome of the hearing could have far-reaching impacts on turbine owners throughout the territory. If the PSC determines that Island Wind Power is a public utility, it could bring the same question into play for other turbine operators in the territory, especially those who let tenants use the energy they generate.
The hearing will take place on St. Thomas at the PSC Conference room located at Barbel Plaza next Friday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Time will be allotted for the public to offer comments during the hearing at the discretion of the Hearing Examiner.