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Future Islander
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September 27, 2008 9:36 pm  

What is the residential rate (per Kwhr) on STT?

At Point Pleasant we're paying a "bulk rate" of $0.51 per Kwhr.

F.I.


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Lucy
 Lucy
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September 29, 2008 1:31 pm  

The residential rate is the same. Approx. 51 cents per kWh. About 40 cents is LEAC (fuel surcharge).

Regards, L


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GoodToGo
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September 29, 2008 1:52 pm  

For reference I just checked online with my house in Seattle (Puget Sound Energy) and I pay 8.3 cents per KwH...


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Future Islander
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September 29, 2008 3:30 pm  

Lucy:

Thank you....I was getting all kinds of other numbers.

F.I.


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Neil
 Neil
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September 30, 2008 1:03 pm  

This morning's Avis newspaper had a letter to the editor from Hovensa.
Lots of interesting detail in there.
It was the first time I have ever read, however, that Hovensa wants Wapa to convert from fuel oil to coal/coke to generate electricity.
Hovensa's numbers say it would cut kilowatt costs by almost two-thirds.
VERY interesting.


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Cory
 Cory
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September 30, 2008 2:57 pm  

This is the worst idea...

Coal? Pet Coke? Dirty, nasty, cheaper fossil fuels will not help us. How about Sun, Wind and the ocean? Now is the time to go towards renewable energy!! They want to have a coal plant at Renaissance, which means that for the next 25 years the western half of the island will be breathing disease causing emissions. Do we really want to go backwards here? We just might be able to pay less out of our pocket for a few years, but then we will be right back in the situation we're in now, instead of oil, it will be coal.... The USVI is WAY behind the other islands in terms of using the resources it has. We have the opportunity to make a real change here and now is the time to speak up, vote, let your voice be heard about it.

Here's some clips taken from www.virenewableenergy.org :

- VIREO recommends against WAPA investing in coal-fired boilers if that commits the USVI to energy derived from coal combustion for 20 years. (See graph below.) Coal prices are expected to escalate as this finite resource is depleted from the coalfields now being mined. The existing coal boiler at St. Croix Renaissance Group is permitted by EPA to burn only low-sulfur coal (called “compliance coal”, or “metallurgical coal”), which is more expensive than highsulfur content coal. Over the last three years, the cost of Colombian compliance coal that was formerly used in the coal-fired boiler at the Renaissance Group has doubled in cost. Coal costs are also increasing in the United States: Metallurgical coal from Walter Industries in Alabama increased in cost by an average of 40.5% per year over the period 2003 to 2007. At half of the Walter Industries coal inflation rate (20% per year), a ton of coal at the dock in Alabama would go from $92 in 2007 to $191 per ton in 2011. We are concerned that if WAPA signs a 20-yr electricity supply contract for which coal is the energy source, and coal price inflation continues on the same track it has in the past four years, St. Croix will be in the same situation it is now: locked into relying on an escalating fossil fuel for about a third of its electricity.

Now for the health concerns...again clipped from www.virenewableenergy.org :

- There is over a century of experience with environmental concerns related to air emissions from coal-fired energy generation. While we may be testing for Particulate Matter, Sulfur Di- oxide, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Oxides, some of the most dangerous pollutants from fossil fuel combustion, such as Lead, Mercury, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are not being monitored in current industrial and power plant air emissions. Nor would they be required by the US Environmental Protection Agency to be monitored as a condition of the proposed start-up of a coal-fired boiler on St. Croix. Yet, the World Health Organization recommends that there is no safe level in ambient air for Benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogenic PAH. Before WAPA contracts for energy from a coal-fired steam boiler on St. Croix, we need to know how emissions would affect air quality and public health downwind from the boiler.

What about Coal & climate change

- An additional factor that makes coal a poor choice for a 20-year contract is that its use would contribute to the increase in concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, one of the most important causes of climate warming. Each ton of coal emits about 2.9 tons of CO2 when it is burned. The rate of melting of our planet’s polar area ice caps is expected to accelerate as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere climbs, causing sea level to rise due to the melt water from the ice. It is our responsibility to reduce our contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, not increase them, and to sensibly use our natural resources. Is it worth the risk of 20+ years of emissions from an old coal furnace, grandfathered to allow emissions that would be banned in a modern coal burning furnace? Is it worth the gamble that coal will not rise in cost? Is it worth the risk of stepping backward for our energy needs, rather than looking forward to clean, renewable sources?

It is not worth the risk.

If we make the right choice today, we will experience the benefits for 25 years or more. If we make a hasty decision and pick the wrong mix of energy solutions, we will be overpaying for it for 20 years, and our children and grandchildren will be paying for it as well.


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Bombi
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September 30, 2008 5:59 pm  

My WAPA Bill

Usage 109 KHW

Customer Charge $5.00
CONS Charge 7.77
Pilot SUR .21
WHB Surchsrge .22
RES LEAC $45.12
INS Surcharge .00

Total Electric $58.32

$58.32div. by 109 = $.5350 cents for 109KWH used = insane In Maine my bill would have been @ $15.00, but it's to cold there.

700 sq. ft. cottage tankless hot water, gas stove, electric washer and dryer, water pump, computer, lights, tv/audio, celing fans.
House faces east to limit sun exposure, roof is insulated, compact floresents, energy star appliances, gas stove, dish washer, micro wave. If it's not in use I unplug it or use surge suppressor outlet strips to turn off several things.

I don't think solar would cash out for me with a reasonable pay back period.


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GeoffMichelle
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September 30, 2008 6:10 pm  

is your tankless electric or gas?


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Bombi
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September 30, 2008 6:24 pm  

electric, with low flow areators and shower head


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Lucy
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September 30, 2008 6:47 pm  

Guys,

Here is the latest power study (one month old). Summary of recommendations is on pages 203 and 204.

http://www.viwapa.vi/pdf/WAPA-Power-Supply-Evaluation-Report-2008.pdf

Pet Coke on STX and Colombian coal on STT. There is talk of wind, but here WAPA (or the gov't) needs to take equity in an installation - a lot of risk for developer to build in an area plagued by hurricanes. The only real solar that will work in the islands is photovoltaic (solar thermal is not efficient when there are many days with passing clouds). The installed capacity on STT is 100MW. To get that in solar, which does not work at night, you would have to literally cover the island in panels. Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) is another "renewable" option being discussed. See this web site: http://www.nrel.gov/otec/design_location.html

Relative costs to install various types of generation (approx. so don't hold me to these exactly): numbers move depend on who you talk to or how large the installation is.

- Combustion Turbine (runs on fuel oil or NG) --> about $600 per kW
- Combine Cycle (combustion turbine w. steam turbine hybrid) --> about $1,000 per kW
- Coal fed Steam Turbine Plant --> $1,300 per kW
- Nuclear Steam Turbine Plant --> $2,000 per kW
- Wind Power (depends on size) --> $1,500 per kW (but only 33% effective so you need 3 times the number)
- Solar Photovoltaic --> $4,000 per kW or more
- OTEC --> Much more than all the rest.

The cheapest / quickest way to add capacity is to install a combustion turbine. WAPA has several. But you pay the big price for the fuel oil.

If you notice, the Beck study focuses on Big solutions. In another post (copied below) I talk about "small" (carbon neutral) biomass.

"As an example. Each day on STT, about 500,000 pounds of solid waste (MSW) is generated that goes (or should go) to the landfill. About 10 pounds per full time resident. This amount is much greater than in the states (USA avg. is about 5 pounds per person) for 2 reasons. One due to the tourists. The other is the large amount of cardboard and pallets used in shipping everything in and amounts to about 20%. This 50 tons could be used in a biomass system ( www.adoratec.com ) to make 1MW. This system could also take in dried sewage sludge to blend with the other biomass to increase the MW output. However MSW and sewage on STT are controlled outside of the VI Gov't. See ( [www.viwma.org] ). Dealings with WMA are another hassle. To coordinate things all elements should be back under the gov't. If the people want change, then they need to DEMAND direct government involvement - not just their prodding of WAPA."

Note, this biomass option costs about $2,000 per kWe to build and there is significant amount of waste heat (hot water at 180 degrees F) that can be used for a drying process or can be used for AC via the absorption process. The waste fuel is essentially free and clean burning.

Renewable power can be the answer, but the initial installation cost needs to be dealt with.

Regards,
L


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EngRMP
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September 30, 2008 6:49 pm  

Bombi, that might be expensive from a cost/kWH... but, from a cost/month, that's fantastic! Are you living "comfortably", or REALLY conserving (ie. no A/C, dishwasher or clothes dryer)? 109kWH/month is equivalent to about 3.5 kWH/day, which would be about 300W/daylight_hour. A typical usage number for mainland is about 25 kWH/day (you've got that beat by almost a factor of 10)!!!


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Bombi
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September 30, 2008 7:10 pm  

The house was designed from the start to be affordable. I work all day so I'm home from 5 until I conk out @ 11. 7 brief showers a week, 1-2 loads in dish washer, 2-3 loads a week laundry, I use a clothes line and maybe 1 load in dryer a week. Watch the news, lights on and audio/video/computer. I'm frugal but not obsesive and live comfortably and I keep the beer really cold.


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EngRMP
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September 30, 2008 7:14 pm  

Lucy,

Thanks for all of that great info... much appreciated.

I would like to question the assertion that the island would need to be covered by solar panels to achieve 100 MW of capacity:
- let's just assume that you might need 500MW of solar power to make up for cloudy and dark periods.
- let's start with the number from a typical, vanilla PV system: 2100 watts for 150 sqft of panels.
- so, to get 500 MW, we need 500MW/2100watts*150sqft of surface area
- that's 35.7 million sqft
- that sounds like a big number, but, a square nautical mile is 6000ft by 6000 ft = 36 million sqft
- so, it's about 1 square mile to get 500MW

Granted, it's still a big area. But, I think it's worth noting that there is a LOT of energy from the Sun. I'm not considering cost... I'm just marveling at the amount of energy from the Sun. I think it's just a matter of time... this energy source is just so concentrated (1.5 kW per square meter of surface area).


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Lucy
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October 1, 2008 5:40 pm  

EngRMP,

You are pretty much correct. I didn't run the numbers but I knew the area would be sizable particularly since it not practical to butt them end-to-end and they must be properly supported and angled. This panel provides 11.4 watts per sq. foot. 125 watts for $667.00 or $5,336.00 per kW --> this is only the panel cost, no inverters, wiring, installation, support structure, etc.

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/pdf.folder/module%20pdf%20folder/BP3125.pdf

For the 2100 watts you refer to I get 183 sq. ft. for the above panel - not too much off your number.

For even just a 100MW installation using these small panels the cost is a staggering (guesstimate) of $1,070,000,000.00 (that's $1 Billion). Note, I used a factor of 2 on the 5336 for the auxiliaries and installation.

I'm not real into the panels but know that only some are good for marine environment. Too bad you couldn't put them on a barge and float them - that's a big barge and I'm sure there would be a lot that would not like to look at that.

Your comment about using the 1.5kW of concentrated solar energy --> you probably correct - just a matter of time. But will there be anyone left in the VI to take advantage. A definite change plan is required now.


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Future Islander
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October 1, 2008 6:50 pm  

Are you saying that you get 2100 watts per hour from 150 sq. ft. of solar panels?


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EngRMP
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October 1, 2008 7:39 pm  

Lucy, I agree... things are pretty dire right now. And yes, right now, solar is mighty expensive. But, as I've said before, within 50 years, I think we'll be laughing at the notion of a power company delivering power to our homes.

Although, there is a city in Scotland ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7390663.stm) talking about making these very large lily pad shapes (100's of feet across) that float in the river that runs through their town. The lily pads are large arrays of solar panels. No interference with river use... fine to look at.... large area for solar collection. And of course folks are working on solar panel shingles for homes.

I don't mean to sound like an evangelist for solar... but, I do think it's so "available" that it's just painfully obvious (I wish I had realized it about 20 years ago...the numbers are not hard to understand: 1.5kW/sqm... really 1.0 kW/sqm once it punches through the atmosphere... I think I would have a different career).

FutureIslander, yup, that's about right. I did a back-of-the-envelope study a few months ago (see https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,82504,83347#msg-83347).


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Future Islander
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October 1, 2008 7:53 pm  

EngRMP:

You are amazing!

This is exactly what I was looking for!

Thank you!

F.I.


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Cory
 Cory
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October 1, 2008 9:41 pm  

Richard! Call me , we need to update the back of the envenlope study!


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EngRMP
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October 1, 2008 9:46 pm  

F.I., Cory (on this forum) got me started, thinking about this. He knows much more than I do, and has moved to STX to further his solar power company. I think there are others on this forum that also work in this field. I'm sure they can answer your questions better than I can. I've wanted to do the same analysis for wind power, but it just hasn't bubbled to the top of my ToDo list yet...


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EngRMP
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October 1, 2008 9:47 pm  

Hi Cory! What timing! Yeah, I know about the higher WAPA rates. Are you going to tell us about better rebates?


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Cory
 Cory
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October 2, 2008 11:15 am  

Well, I can tell you that the rebate program should be fine through 2009(straight from Bevin Smith at the energy office), and there is alot of talk about lowering the LEAC soon. Currntly its adjusted every 6 months, it should be every 30 days due to the volatility of oil prices. Im currently paying .509 cents and averaging 18 kWh/day. Ouch!!! My first 12 days here cost $100.

The Senate passed the extension of tax credits and even improved it more than we could have imagined. Currently there is a cap for residential of 30% or $2000. New program has NO CAP for residentail!!! WoW. Lets see if it passes throught the house!

Im hoping for a 2k max rebateable($7000 per cycle) here in the caribbean, but i doubt it will happen this year.

Let your voices be heard-- www.virenewableenergy.org

Coal and Coke are what they are leaning towards and OMG i cant think of anything worse for the poeple of the USVI. 25 more years of emissions and dirty fossil fuels that ill no doubt go up in price and put us in the same situation we are in now for oil. Talk about a step backwards.... 🙁

Call me richard! case you lost my #--631-672-3500

**Edit-Add--- http://deviceinn.com/environment/floating-wind-solar-power-plants-to-be-deployed-in-japan.html

Floating wind/solar !!! 1.25 miles x .5 miles 300,000kw!! It doesnt have to be on land!!!!


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jay
 jay
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October 2, 2008 11:46 am  

This is the worst idea...

We have the opportunity to make a real change here and now is the time to speak up, vote, let your voice be heard about it.

.

I vote coal.


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Cory
 Cory
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October 2, 2008 12:48 pm  

Jay, if your gonna speak up and let your voice be heard, please explain why Coal works for you! This i gotta hear!!


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Betty
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October 2, 2008 3:00 pm  

Works for me because its 2/3 cheaper. If WAPA could get out of a bind then maybe they would hopefully look at buying alternative energy. I can't afford to live on my current wapa bill. And I don't want to spend 20k or more for solar. Especially when you may or may not get it back when you sell your house.


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Cory
 Cory
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October 2, 2008 4:27 pm  

Is it really cheaper? short term or long term?

How long do you plan on living here?
Who told you it costs $20k for a solar system? and what size?
What is your electricity usage?
Whats the "real" cost, what about health costs-emissions from coal plants are not nice.
Why would you not get the value back when you sell your house?

Coal may be cheaper for a few years, but then we will be back in the same situation we are in now. Coal prices are rising rapidly.

Solar Electric Systems can pay themselves off in under 5-6 years at these rates, the biggest problem is the up front cost. Think of it as buying your energy for a few years and then after that you will produce your own energy for a fraction of whta WAPA charges. Panels are warantied for 25 years and expected to work for 30-40. Do the math and you will see that its a no brainer to go solar. Upfront costs and financing is the key to be honest.


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