The V.I. Water and Power Authority has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 10 megawatts of solar electrical power, preferably but not necessarily split evenly between its St. Thomas and St. Croix power plants, according to WAPA. WAPA is requesting turnkey proposals where respondents will be responsible for constructing, operating, and maintaining all facets of the project.
To put this additional capacity in perspective; at peak operation, St. Croix consumes 55 megawatts and St. Thomas 88 megawatts, according to past statements from WAPA. Scaled-back Alpine Energy Group plans for a trash-to-energy plant on St. Croix that would burn pelletized refuse from throughout the territory anticipate 16.5 megawatts of power production.
The utility will sign a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the procurement of solar energy from one or more selected respondents, with an option to renew for another 5 years. The preferred model of the PPA with specific terms and general concepts important in developing responsive proposals is included in the RFP to help bidders, according to a statement from WAPA.
Because WAPA seeks photovoltaic generation to help lower the cost of power production, proposals that help achieve that goal will get more favorable consideration, according to WAPA. Other important characteristics include cost effective product pricing, experience, strength of plans for development, experience in construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities using commercially proven technology, and the financial strength of the respondent. Projects must be commercially operational 18 months after approval of the agreement by the Authority's Governing Board and the Virgin Islands Public Services Commission.
A pre-bid conference and informational web seminar is scheduled June 7 and site visits for bidders will take place June 15 and 16. Proposals are due Sept. 20. A guaranteed commercial operation date has been set for December 2013.