USVI study confirms power connection with P.R. possible, cost-effective

Written by  //  August 4, 2011  //  General Biz News  //  No comments

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Several eastern Caribbean islands are looking to interconnect their power grids with Puerto Rico's system.

A feasibility study commissioned by the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Water and Power Authority confirmed that connecting the territory with Puerto Rico’s and the British Virgin Islands is viable and could help the neighboring islands save money and provide better services.

The $675,000 study conducted by Siemens Power Technologies confirmed that the first option, a 50-mile undersea cable connection between Fajardo and Krum Bay in St. Thomas, is possible and could transmit between 100- and 200-megawatts of power to be shared with the USVI, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.

However, it appears as if the report also suggested that it would be best to “change this interconnection to a 79-mile, 100-megawatt submarine cable link between the Yabucoa Substation in Puerto Rico and the Frederiksted Substation on St. Croix.”

The interconnection between St. Croix and Puerto Rico would run through cables installed some 5,640 feet below the sea.

The USVI’s Water and Power Authority’s Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. told the Virgin Islands Daily News the “report confirms that an undersea electric interconnection between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands is not only feasible but will greatly improve reliability, lower customer costs and reduce carbon emissions.”

“We are on a daily mission to improve reliability and reduce power costs in the territory,” Hodge told the newspaper. “Establishing an electric grid with Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands is a very good beginning, as it establishes an additional and reliable source of base generation.”

Hodge also said he hopes the USVI-Puerto Rico interconnection will attract investors to the small island group, and is the first of a number of regional hook-ups that will link a number of other eastern Caribbean islands, including St. Croix, Tortola and Nevis.

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