Adam Warren, Ph.D., from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado and EDIN team leader, said Tuesday about the 15-month-old project. “We have been working with the utility and the government to reduce Virgin Islands dependency on fuel. Our goal is the goal of Gov. John deJongh Jr., reduce Virgin Islands dependency on fossil fuel by 60 percent by 2025.”
This workshop, the third in a series of energy workshops organized by EDIN this year, was the first one on St. Croix.
Bevan R. Smith Jr., director of the Virgin Islands Energy Office, said, “Over the course of two days EDIN brought together its steering committee and work groups — such as those for Policy and Analysis, Education and Workforce Development, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Transportation — for discussions to lead us to practical solutions. Real progress was made toward our goals.”
In his Tuesday presentation, Smith pointed out that progress had already been made in cutting fossil-fuel consumption because of Energy Office programs such as its rebate programs for alternative energy systems, solar water heaters and its grant programs.
Hugo Hodge Jr., executive director of the Water and Power Authority and co-director with Smith of the EDIN-USVI alliance, assured the attendees that the utility “definitely supports integrating renewables into WAPA’s generation mix” and is actively moving to do so at many levels. He said that many projects, including the underwater transmission study to determine the feasibility of creating a Caribbean grid and the request for proposal for solar energy generation, have great potential for the V.I.’s energy future. Hodge expressed appreciation for EDIN’s involvement in the process now underway because its technical expertise is of great value to the territory.
Paul Chakroff, executive director of St. Croix Environmental Association, made a presentation Tuesday on the Virgin Islands potential for using biomass and biofuels. He said about the conference, “It has been very substantive. We have covered a broad spectrum of energy issues, and it tells me that progress is being made on energy issues here in the Virgin Islands.”
Early on Monday, Cassandra Dunn of WAPA and Aminah Saleem of VIEO unveiled what is going to be called the VI-Energize (pronounced vyenergized) Campaign.
This campaign with its new logos and tagline – Energy Revolution; We are the Solution– will take various avenues to educate the public about energy efficiency and alternative energy. Saleem, who coined the new word, explained, “It is a new and powerful word which incorporates the "VI" for Virgin Islands and the word ‘energize,’ which means “to give energy or power to something or someone.’ Getting VIenergized is a call to action for all Virgin Islanders to meet our energy challenges together and become part of the solution.”
To read about in the Daily News. To read about it in the VI Source. For a photo album of the event click here. For a video of the event click here.