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WAPA Dedicates New Substation, New Feeder Line

Dec. 22, 2004 –– The V.I. Water and Power Authority on Tuesday and Wednesday dedicated integral parts of its planned improvement of electrical system on both St. Thomas and St. John.
"The two projects are interconnected," Patricia Blake Simmonds, WAPA spokesman, said Wednesday, referring to a new substation on St. John and a third electrical feeder for St. Thomas.
The two items are part of a loop system that allows WAPA to keep supplying power to St. Thomas' East End and to St. John even when part of its system goes down.
St. John had depended for years on a submarine cable across Pillsbury Sound to supply power.
"The insulation has broken down in it," Glenn Rothgeb, WAPA chief operating officer, said. He added the original cable won't be used now except in an emergency.
WAPA installed a second submarine cable in the 1990s. A third cable followed in the winter of 2004.
Rothgeb said the new $2.9 million substation coupled with the third submarine electrical cable will meet the need for the foreseeable future.
The new substation allows WAPA to supply power from St. Thomas at a higher voltage.
"It will substantially boost up current," Julien Harley, St. John Administrator, said.
The substation was funded with WAPA bonds and $800,000 from the St. John capital improvement fund.
On the St. Thomas side, the new 34 kilovolt feeder cable creates a loop system that allows power to remain on when a failure happens somewhere along the transmission route. It cost $2.4 million, paid for by WAPA from a 1998 bond issue.
Harley said that St. John needs its own generating plant, but no one wants it built near them.
He also said Coral Bay needs a plant to desalinize water similar to the one in Cruz Bay because Coral Bay is in the midst of tremendous growth.
Simmonds said that WAPA will dedicate its new Unit 23 at its Subbase plant on Dec. 30.
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