U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—The Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO) was chosen as a recipient of $625,000 in Fiscal Year 2019 funding under the Energizing Insular Communities (EIC) grant program. The EIC program is funded and administered through the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.
The VIEO will utilize the grant to develop a Solar plus Storage Micro-Grid pilot project that will be integrated at the St. Croix Educational Complex’s emergency hurricane shelter on St. Croix.
The micro-grid will enable the emergency shelter to function reliably during extended grid outages and significantly reduce the use of fossil fuel generators that have proven difficult to maintain and costly to fuel. Additionally, during active grid conditions the micro-grid will aid in offsetting a portion of the energy costs the school incurs under normal operation.
To ensure the intended long-term impact and future development of similar projects at the various Emergency Support Facilities throughout the territory, a micro-grid design and O&M certification training will be incorporated into the project scope as well.
The Virgin Islands Energy Office worked with Department of Education and the Department of Human Services to develop a comprehensive proposal that was favorably considered by the DOI-OIA. The award further demonstrates potential of inter-department collaboration to access critical resources needed within the territory.
Speaking to future implications of the project, VIEO stated, “The Virgin Islands Energy Office recognizes that reliable energy resources are critical to every sector of the territory’s Emergency Support Functions,” Energy Office Director Kyle Fleming said, referring to the project’s future implications. “This project seeks to become the benchmark of energy resilience by which the territory’s portfolio of emergency infrastructure will be measured.”