The V.I. Water and Power Authority’s conversion to cheaper propane fuel for power generation moved forward this week as the company tasked with the conversion hired a local contractor for the initial phase of work, WAPA said.
Vitol Virgin Islands Corporation was hired in July of 2013 to convert WAPA’s turbines and put in the storage tanks and infrastructure for the conversion, which is projected to cut fuel costs for power generation by 30 percent. (See related links below)
Vitol is financing all upfront capital costs associated with the project – including the construction of infrastructure necessary to deliver, receive and store the propane, and the conversion of WAPA’s turbines by General Electric to burn both propane and diesel fuel.
Vitol recently announced the selection of GRADE ALL, a locally owned and operated Virgin Islands contractor, for the initial phase of work on the conversion project. GRADE ALL will perform the demolition, site clearance and earthworks at WAPA facilities on St. Croix and St. Thomas, according to a release from the authority.
After an initial independent evaluation of local contractors, Vitol shortlisted GRADE ALL and two others for further consideration. The shortlisted contractors were invited to participate in a sealed bid process directly under the control and management of Vitol. As part of this process, Vitol mandated each contractor confirm its commitment to make use of the local labor force to the maximum extent possible, according to the release.
To date Vitol has committed about 54 percent of the $91 million project budget.
WAPA Executive Director Hodge Jr. said, “Vitol continues to demonstrate their commitment to this conversion project … not only financially but by keeping their word to ensure this project includes the local labor force.”
Along with saving money, the project will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by about 20 percent WAPA said.