Interior Announces $5 Million to Support Cost-Saving Energy Projects in the U.S. Territories

Last edited 11/30/2020
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Doug Domenech announced $5,017,021 in fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding under the Energizing Insular Communities (EIC) program to support a variety of energy retrofitting and efficiency projects that are estimated to provide thousands in savings for the residents of the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“We appreciate that Congress has provided these funds to support energy projects in the U.S. insular areas,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “The cost of fuel in the islands is extremely high and so opportunities to provide efficiencies and diversify sources of energy is important.”

The Energizing Insular Communities grants, totaling $5,017,021 for (FY) 2019, and broken down by area are as follow:

American Samoa Power Authority – $1,876,325

  • The American Samoa Power Authority will use the $1,876,325 EIC grant to conduct a retrofit and replacement of all 5,792 high pressure sodium street lights in the territory with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures over the next two years. This effort is expected to result in an estimated 50 percent savings of $347,233.26 in electricity costs per year.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – $785,381

  • $250,000 was made available to provide solar-powered LED light systems on public buildings and pathways on the island of Tinian. The government of Tinian currently spends between $4,800 and $6,000 annually in utility costs for public lighting fixtures, and walkways.

  • $222,988 to conduct a feasibility study for the Rota-Commonwealth Utility Corporation Power Plant on the potential usage of a 2-Megawatt Battery Energy Storage System for the island of Rota. The plan is to capture excess energy, an estimated 0.6MW to 0.8MW of power, from the diesel-powered generators currently operated around the clock to be stored and redistributed as needed. For example, rather than using full diesel-powered generators on a full-time basis, using a battery storage system at night when the demand is lower could result in an estimated savings of over $900,000 per year.

  • $160,000 to provide a photovoltaic system that can fully power the Rota aquaponics program site and provide solar-powered lighting. Previously developed using OIA Technical Assistance funding, the site was established to raise Tilapia, shrimp, plants, and vegetables for local sale and consumption.

  • $152,393 will be used to contract professional services to provide an update to the CNMI’s Strategic Energy Plan, last published in 2013. The Strategic Energy Plan, once updated, will continue to guide CNMI’s overall efforts to reduce costs of energy in the territory and explore the best options for energy production in the territory.

Guam Power Authority - $1,729,815

  • $620,428 to install solar panels on three parking lot canopies at the Guam Power Authority. The solar arrays will be tied to the grid and help off-set the cost of day-to-day operations. The panels are estimated to produce 93,072 kilowatt hours per year, which represents four percent of GPA’s annual energy consumption, and roughly $36,000 in annual savings.

  • $586,771 to fund the Bringing Energy Savings To (BEST) schools program for an LED lighting retrofit at the Agueda I. Johnston Middle School. The BEST program is a collaborative effort between the Guam Power Authority and the Guam Department of Education to find ways to reduce costs of energy consumption at Guam’s public schools. Once the retrofit is completed, Johnston Middle School is expected to realize an annual savings of $49,763 in utility costs.

  • $522,616 to fund a BEST schools program LED lighting retrofit at the Maria A. Ulloa Elementary School which is expected to contribute to $38,946 in annual savings for the school.

U.S. Virgin Islands Energy Office - $625,500

  • $625,500 to the Virgin Islands Energy Office for the design, material procurement, and installation of a solar plus storage micro-grid pilot project to be integrated into the St. Croix Educational Complex's emergency hurricane shelter, so that the shelter may operate independently of the utility during emergencies. The proposed grid is expected to provide 12,500 kWh of energy, translating to an average of $5,875 in savings per month based on normal usage.

The Energizing Insular Communities grant program provides funding for energy strategies that reduce the cost of electricity and reduce the cost of energy to consumers. Funds under this program are appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress.

The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.


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