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Vitol, the V.I. Water and Power Authority's propane supplier and creditor for WAPA's conversion from oil to propane electricity generation, cut off the propane it supplies the utility at noon Saturday. This means WAPA must use more expensive fuel oil instead and cannot use its newest, most efficient generators.
With less than 24 hours notice, Friday afternoon Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. called the Legislature into an emergency meeting Saturday, Dec. 21, to discuss "matters related to the V.I. Water and Power Authority."
The V.I. Water and Power Authority board approved an agreement with BMR USVI Renewables, LLC to redevelop the Donoe solar farm on St. Thomas. Before Hurricane Irma, the solar farm had a capacity of 4.188 megawatts, and it will be redeveloped with a capacity of 5.025 megawatts.
The last two decades have brought a variety of proposals for the territory's energy future, but mostly all the energy that has been generated has been in the scrapping between the PSC, the Legislature and WAPA.
WAPA's issues, including debt, substantial cost overruns on the VITOL propane conversion project, and long-term non-payment of bills by government agencies, could leave U.S. Virgin Islanders in the dark.
When Hugo Hodge, then executive director of WAPA, was pushing for a deal with Vitol to convert the territory's generators to burn propane, he repeatedly said Vitol was building the infrastructure at no upfront cost for WAPA. But payments are now coming due and it is not good for Virgin Islanders.
The V.I. Water and Power Authority continues to be in compliance with emissions consent decrees, earning praise from U.S. District Judge Curtis Gomez during a quarterly court review Monday. WAPA will only need to have annual reviews going forward, according to a statement from the authority.