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The US Virgin Islands

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by TheTalkingMule, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    I hang out in St John quite a bit and am always amazed by the lack of solar there. St Thomas/St John/St Croix(I believe) all share a grid powered exclusively by diesel generators. There are a few large scale solar operations(they have net metering) and they hit something like 15% of demand at peak.

    If they're paying 30 cents per kWh(or more) now, wouldn't it be cheaper to simply have a voter referendum, take over the grid entirely, and outsource operations to an entity like TSLA/SCTY who could very rapidly transition to 100% wind/solar/storage? They need fresh water production so using all that excess solar at peak would be no problem at all. Build supply up to 200% and either store it or use it for fresh water production.

    Obviously the residents of the USVI outnumber the villa population considerably. Wouldn't it be fun to have a ballot initiative that bought out the current grid operator, gave Tesla a 30 year utility contract with set profit and all excess profits went to the USVI school systems? You could even set a "free standard usage" fee scheme that kept high energy villas paying about what they do now while less energy intensive shack owners got paid a bit each month for conserving.

    Wouldn't that end up cheaper in the end? I wonder what their rights are with ballot initiatives.
     
  2. timpierc

    timpierc Member

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    I thought the same thing as well. Figured maybe I could set up a company, and pull off to the Virgin Islands, what happened in Hawaii (all the while wasting away in margaritaville). Unfortunately the permanent population there is significantly more disadvantaged then those on Hawaii, and couldn't afford the lease/loan payments for a system. The rest of the dwellings belong to those who own vacation homes, and don't see the investment as worth it.

    Your premise about turning the islands utility over is interesting. Maybe do it like the nations national labs. The government owns the assets, but is managed by a company, like Lockheed, or a university. I don't know how the local government, and voters would see that arrangement for one company managing the system.
     
  3. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    That's the beauty of it, the permanent population has the power of the ballot and could force the issue. If the costs are the same or less and there are huge ancillary advantages....who has a leg to stand on in opposition? The villa/resort owners would simply be forced to come along.

    This could be a very nice post-merger project for the Rive brothers to analyze and propose. Get people talking.
     
  4. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    Talked to the brother of the biggest USVI installer and I hear there are some major caps on solar installs across the entire USVI right now. Pretty insane when you think about it, but not far from what we saw with Hawaii. Will be researching micro-grid legality within the USVI and if there are fees for leaving the grid.

    If you can link up with 6-10 villas most with good solar potential, I have to think you could very easily install a 3 battery pack micro-grid for much cheaper than paying the $.30/kWh they pay today. Smart wire all the pool pumps and air conditioners and you're all set. All these fancy villa neighborhoods already have full time maintenance and management personnel who could monitor the system and usage. Big business coming down the pike for solar/battery installers.
     
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