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Any Energy Solution in Virgin Islands must Include natural gas

 
InnAtPelicanHeights
(@InnAtPelicanHeights)
Advanced Member

Electric rates cheaper around the US due to tumbling natural gas prices. NOT here in the Virging Islands and our rates only expected to go UP.
Layman terms a RI resident will be paying $73.49 for 500 kilowatss compared to a resident of VI $230.00--and all the headlines we read our about increasing rates in our future.

We can dream and hope our future includes a headline like the one I read today in the Providence Journal(see below)
Electric rates to drop in Rhode Island
May 21, 2012 5:15 pm

By Alex Kuffner
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Islanders will start paying less for electricity this summer under a proposal for new rates filed by National Grid on Monday.

Rates have been generally going down in recent years, driven by the tumbling price of natural gas, which has made it cheaper for utilities around the country to generate electricity.

Starting July 1, the bill for a typical Rhode Island household that uses 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will decrease by 6.3 percent, falling from $78.45 to $73.49, according to the filing submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission.

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Topic starter Posted : May 22, 2012 9:55 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

It's not something which hasn't been discussed at some length before but this article from the VI Daily News in February gives a synopsis which you'll probably find interesting and informative:

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/hovensa-s-closure-makes-natural-gas-more-expensive-but-possible-1.1272460

I'm totally removed from being knowledgeable in the field but there has been huge controversy about the ecological downside of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas deposits. Several lawsuits have already been filed in Rhode Island for major contamination problems and neighboring Vermont recently banned fracking in that state.

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Posted : May 22, 2012 12:56 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

NG just "might" be one answer. However, there are many considerations. To get NG to the VI, it needs to be liquefied as LNG. To keep it as LNG once it has arrived, it needs special refrigerated storage and distribution systems .... which the VI currently does not have. However, putting that aside, just compare the cost of LNG to that of fuel oil.

Let's say that the VI can buy fuel oil (after the Hovensa discount expires at the end of the year) for $4 per gallon. The energy content in a gallon of LNG is 60% of that for fuel oil .... so you need 1.67 gallons of LNG to be equal to 1 gallon of fuel oil. See this web page on LNG EXPORT prices: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_pri_sum_dcu_nus_m.htm

At $11.30 per gallon of LNG, you would pay $18.80 for the same energy equivalent of fuel oil at $4.00 per gallon.

Currently the VI Energy Road Map consists "mainly" of energy conservation initiatives + adding in about 20% renewables. The Alpine project was part of the mix .... now dead as a door nail. The goal is a 60% reduction in fossil fuel by 2025 .... 60 x 25. It talks some what about WAPA power equipment upgrades but not a switch in technology. IMO this is misguided. All of the other islands in the Caribbean have already gone to medium and slow speed reciprocating engines that can run initially on fuel oil and also on NG. These are 45% efficient compared to WAPA's best at 30%. OR if you want to get totally off fossil fuel for base load power .... just go with a Small Modular (Nuclear) Reactor. Pick your poison.

http://empowervi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/US-Virgin-Islands-Energy-Road-Map-Analysis.pdf

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Posted : May 22, 2012 1:20 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

LNG is a fools answer. By the time any meaningful LNG infrastructure is in place in the territory, the price deflation will have abated and it will be as expensive as any other extractive fuel.

Don't waste your time or my money with anything other than renewable.

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Posted : May 23, 2012 12:15 am
rhstoo
(@rhstoo)
Advanced Member

With our abundant natural resources (sun, wind, waves) it is silly for us not to be doing everything we can to convert faster than we are. There are Lways excuses but we shouldn't accept as a given that it's too hard. We should get off our butts and make it happen!

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Posted : May 23, 2012 7:54 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

RHS-2 .... There is a place and movement to include renewables. But for technical reasons the complement is projected to between 20% to 25% of the overall power generating capacity by 2025 (.... around 70 MWe out of the current 300 MWe WAPA capacity). Here is the current road map that WAPA, the VI Energy Office and DOE-NREL are working to. Note that 16.5 MWe is waste to energy ... the defunct Alpine Energy project.

http://www.edinenergy.org/pdfs/usvi_re_roadmap_nrel.pdf

For anyone that is compelled and wants to provide feedback there is a conference scheduled for June 11th on STX.

http://www.viwapa.vi/Libraries/PDFs/EDIN-USVI_Working_Group_Agenda_-_June_11_2012.sflb.ashx

NOTE, the up-front cost of renewables is higher than traditional power generation equipment and for 24/7 operations, energy storage (also costly) needs to be included for all technologies other than waste-to-energy and ocean thermal energy. The single largest issue is that WAPA and the USVI is broke and can not borrow the monies necessary .... forcing WAPA to recruit outside developers like Alpine Energy . which that example would scare off many developers.

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Posted : May 24, 2012 1:39 pm
DaChief
(@DaChief)
Advanced Member

Yes, but I also think that Hodge (based on his past performances at Griffin) just wants to "broker" electricity. The City of Griffin Georgia- had no powerplant..they simply bought from Georgia Power and Southern Energy (that's right- the SAME Southern Energy)...

We shoould be paying a maximum of .24 per kwh- we are paying nearly double that- in comes the "Magic of Hodgie" and we're probably going to be paying a "discounted" rate of .36 a kwh after its all said and done- still much too high- the "Magic" will include the grid to PREPA and elsewhere and a smattering of alternative energy...The bas problem remains the same-

A GOVERNMENT ENERGY SHOULD NOT BE THE SOLE MONOPOLY..PRIVATIZE WAPA TODAY!

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Posted : May 25, 2012 4:55 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

More natural gas, means poisoned water sheds. The shouldn't ever be an option.

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Posted : May 26, 2012 6:29 am
DanielB_STX
(@DanielB_STX)
Advanced Member

I read this yesterday..............at least there is no pollution involved.....................maybe wind turnbines would help too............

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2012/05/25/wapa-ready-go-little-solar

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Posted : May 26, 2012 1:51 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

More natural gas, means poisoned water sheds. The shouldn't ever be an option.

Just as well we don't have any natural gas deposits here.

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Posted : May 26, 2012 2:37 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

More natural gas, means poisoned water sheds. The shouldn't ever be an option.

Just as well we don't have any natural gas deposits here.

I just moved from the heart of frackville. One planet. Imagine if all water in the states had to be bought, what would do to our price of water. Not to mention the poisons going into the rain and ocean. Fracking is just awful

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Posted : May 26, 2012 6:21 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

More natural gas, means poisoned water sheds. The shouldn't ever be an option.

Just as well we don't have any natural gas deposits here.

I just moved from the heart of frackville. One planet. Imagine if all water in the states had to be bought, what would do to our price of water. Not to mention the poisons going into the rain and ocean. Fracking is just awful

I couldn't agree more. I honestly wasn't even aware of the problem until I saw an HBO (I believe) documentary on the subject which was truly frightening but absolutely piqued my curiosity and led me to further research. Man is such a planet-destroyer and thus it's ever been. The only major deposits of NG are apparently in Trinidad and Tobago with Cuba in second place.

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Posted : May 26, 2012 9:07 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

Yeah, pipe a few hundred feet under the ground, blow up rocks (which is being proven to cause future earthquakes, duh) and then use hundreds of mixed chemicals to catch the gases being released. Then use chemical water to clean it up and leave water behind in ponds and ignore. Great idea. Contaminate all of our drinking water and kill all creatures who survive off it. We are a doomed locust like species.

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Posted : May 27, 2012 12:52 pm
watruw8ing4
(@watruw8ing4)
Trusted Member

Yeah, pipe a few hundred feet under the ground, blow up rocks (which is being proven to cause future earthquakes, duh) and then use hundreds of mixed chemicals to catch the gases being released. Then use chemical water to clean it up and leave water behind in ponds and ignore. Great idea. Contaminate all of our drinking water and kill all creatures who survive off it. We are a doomed locust like species.

According to USGS and other studies, fracking has been proven to cause only minor tremors, and is only linked to 3 actual small earthquakes in the US and 1 in the UK (so far that I've seen). It is the injection of waste water, which is being done by gas AND oil and geothermal companies, that is causing the increased earthquake activity.

Also those documentaries on TV are out to prove a point, and often give biased conclusions. Flaming spigots have been known to occur whenever a new well is dug (including private water wells), for instance.

Not mimimalizing the situation or condoning the practice(s). But just want to point out that fracking is not the only culprit here.

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Posted : May 27, 2012 1:29 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

I only saw part of the documentary. Gas Land. I just know people who can't use their wells to water crops, see dead animals near streams and can't drink their own well water any more. It shouldn't be an option

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Posted : May 27, 2012 7:26 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

So it sounds like we don't like fuel oil, we don't like LNG and based on the comments, we don't like coal. So what is left?

Renewables?

Yes .... but only part of the answer. Wind and PVSolar provide DC electric and as such can only be 20% of the total capacity due to technical reasons with power performance on the overall grid. 80% needs to come from a spinning AC generator.

So what's left? I guess we are ok for a small nuclear reactor that can privide 24/7 baseload operations.

Again ... renewables can be oart of the equation, but we need a cost effective baseload capacity for 24/7 operations. Pick your poison.

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Posted : May 27, 2012 8:03 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

The discussion about natural gas was simply about its source and that source doesn't directly affect us since we don't have deposits here. It was a little sidetrack. Of course we know that we're faced with obtaining energy from many different sources and that's never been questioned. The "small nuclear reactor" isn't even a maybe perhaps at this point for reasons discussed earlier on this forum. As the price of solar and wind power decreases then we obviously need to take advantage of it but our main preoccupation needs to be in having enough people with some knowledge ensure that our representatives don't fall for any hype. They were almost poised just a few years ago to award a contract to a wind turbine provider when anyone with even a bare education could have gone online and discovered that antiquated and inefficient turbines are a cheap dime a dozen and this provider was proposing exactly those. I'm sure there were some sweet kickback deals in that proposal but, for whatever reason, it was nixed.

Like many others I was disturbed when the proposal by SouthEast to purchase WAPA was nixed years ago but I wasn't disturbed when the Alpine deal was nixed. SouthEast was and is, I believe, a highly reputable company with a long and positive history. For Alpine this was a guinea pig deal and that I have a problem with.

I can kvetch with all the rest but I do see some little progress being made at the executive level. Better late than never. We can rail all we want about how this and that should have been implemented years ago but that's not going to change anything. Coming up with solutions and presenting them at the proper level with demonstrable facts and figures is of course the way to go. Sitting back and complaining accomplishes zilch.

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Posted : May 27, 2012 8:55 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

My point being is that any progress with a small amount of renewable power should not side track the real issue which is a need to replace the aging, inefficient 24 / 7 baseload equipment. A small step forward with solar is taking the heat off WAPA.

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Posted : May 28, 2012 11:02 am
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