Feb. 9, 2004 – The Public Services Commission has voted to certify a second small power-producing company for the territory — at the same time that the Water and Power Authority has gone to court over the PSC's orders that it negotiate to purchase electricity generated by the first one.
Approval of the second company, Caribbean Energy Resources, came at the PSC's Friday meeting.
The company, in a joint venture with another firm, Hague International, pitched its plan to the Water and Power Authority board last April to build an "externally fired combined cycle" (EFCC) electrical generator which uses "petcoke," or petroleum coke, as its primary fuel. The technology at that time had not been commercially tested.
Company officials said then that they planned to finance the construction of the generator privately — in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and in part by an industrial consortium. But they said the financing would not be available until the company had a signed contract from a power purchaser — in this case, WAPA. (See "Privately backed generator pitched to WAPA".)
The first outside company certified by the PSC as a small power-producing company is Caribe Waste Technologies, which was selected by the Turnbull administration several years ago to build a new solid waste disposal system for the territory. CWT has made agreement by WAPA to buy some $10 million to $12 million a year in electric power that would be a byproduct of its gasification technology a condition of undertaking to construct the plant or plants.
WAPA resisted the idea from the start, with utility officials arguing that the authority has the capability to meet the territory's power needs for the foreseeable future and that there is no reason for it to buy power from another producer. In response to the PSC's orders to negotiate with CWT, the utility took the matter to court last fall. (See "Court to hear WAPA's appeal of PSC's CWT order".)
The Caribbean Energy Resources proposal is unrelated to solid waste. Company officials said in April that their proposed high-efficiency thermal energy conversion to electric power was part of a plan that also includes building a gypsum plant and a "micro steel mill" producing carbon steel. They said they are looking to build the facilities on St. Croix.
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