In a move expected to increase St. Thomas power efficiency and reliability, the V.I. Water and Power Authority governing board on Friday approved the purchase of two generators at a cost of about $2 million, according to a statement from WAPA.
The board approved a $15.5 million contract with Wood Group Power Solutions Inc. for a refurbished General Electric LM2500 gas turbine at the Randolph Harley Power Plant on St. Thomas. It will replace the current Pratt and Whitney Unit no. 22, which cannot be converted to use propane, according to WAPA. The new unit can be installed using the existing unit’s foundation, generator and exhaust stack, thereby maintaining EPA compliance and minimizing the cost for installation.
The new turbine, which is similar to another unit operating at the plant, will be able to operate on more than one fuel from the moment it is commissioned, said WAPA Chief Operating Officer Gregory Rhymer in a statement after the meeting.
The board also approved a $4.3 million contract for a new heat recovery steam generator purchased as surplus for the St. Thomas plant. These generators save energy by recovering hot exhaust gases from other generators and using them to fire boilers. It will be purchased from Sigma LLC for $2.99 million, which includes the transportation and storage of the unit. The remaining funds will be used to have Hamon Deltak design and retrofit the generator to the plant.
While WAPA was able to procure this unit at a surplus price, the unit has never been used, according to Rhymer, who said the unit was initially made for a refinery that decided to pursue other business ventures after the generator had already been designed and fabricated. A new one would cost around $7 million, he said.
WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said, “The procurement of these units will bring additional relief outside of what we’ll see with the propane project.” Hodge said the gas turbine would be in operation by the end of 2014 and the heat recovery steam generator in about 16 months.
The generators will be paid for with money from a 7 cents per gallon fuel tax increase enacted two years by the Legislature in order to purchase new, more efficient, power generating equipment. [Act 7360]
Hodge said more new generating equipment is on the way and he has directed his staff to develop and issue a request for proposals for an additional 20-megawatt unit for the St. Thomas district and a 10-megawatt unit for St. Croix. According to Hodge, the St. Thomas unit will be used to return the desired capacity to the Randolph Harley plant and the St. Croix unit will be used to balance the load curve on that island in the most efficient manner.
The board also approved:
– $319,810 for the purchase of distribution automation switches and re-closers from S&C Electric Co. This project will result in correcting faults and rerouting power around the faulted area at a faster rate, further reducing the impact and duration of outages. Funding is provided through a grant from the Department of the Interior;
– an extension of time needed to fully complete Unit no.16 major overhaul from January 2014 to May 2014. The unit is currently online and the work has been completed. The time extension allows for performance acceptance testing and does not require any additional funding;
– A total budget of $1.37 million to break down and remove four Israeli Desalinization Equipment drinking water producing plants in both districts. This budget includes a contract to RG Engineering for $1.19 million for the liquidation and an additional 15 percent contingency to complete the scope of work to include permits and unforeseen circumstance. These units are no longer operational since WAPA switched to producing water through reverse osmosis and need to be removed from the properties to make room for new projects, reduce insurance costs, lower safety risks and reallocate maintenance money to productive equipment in the plants;
– $457,869 to Sulzer Turbo Services for more repairs of Unit no.18 gas turbine. During the inspection and repairs of the unit and generator rotors, WAPA determined more repairs were needed beyond the initial scope;
– The VIenergize Services business plan to allow the creation of a business unit within WAPA that will offer support to the clean energy strategy goal of reducing the territory’s dependency on fossil fuels by 60 percent by 2025. It will monitor the net metering program and other green energy programs such as solar, wind, and the impact of biomass to the authority’s avoided cost and potential losses of free power. VIenergize Services is funded through a $600,000 grant from the Department of the Interior;
– A resolution to ratify a memorandum of agreement between WAPA and the V.I. Next Generation Network for the use of certain of the authority’s communication facilities and infrastructure, and WAPA’s right to receive up to eight strands of dark fiber for use in connection with the “smart grid” supervisory control and data acquisition applications.
Board members in attendance at Thursday’s meeting included Chairman Gerald Groner, Vice Chairwoman Juanita Young, Secretary Noel Loftus, Planning Committee Chairman and VIEO Director Karl Knight, Cheryl Boynes-Jackson, Donald Francois and Elizabeth Armstrong. Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Alicia Barnes and Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Wayne Biggs were absent.