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WAPA MAY BUY POWER FROM NEW WASTE PLANTS

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July 26, 2001 – Water and Power Authority executive director Joseph Thomas will meet this week with officials of a company proposing to build two solid waste gasification plants in the territory, one on St. Thomas and one on St. Croix.
The meeting with representatives of Caribe Waste Technologies is to iron out a proposal for WAPA to purchase power, he said.
Gasification technology involves heating garbage to the point where it releases combustible gas which can be used for electric energy production. It is thus a means both of disposing of solid waste and of producing fuel that in turn can be used to generate electricity.
The Caribe Waste plant on St. Croix is to produce 8 megawatts of electricity a day, and the one on St. Thomas, 2 megawatts, according to Thomas, who has been meeting with CWT representatives.
In theory, he said, WAPA has agreed to purchase electricity from the waste plants, but a pivotal issue has been the "avoided cost" figure. That is the amount of money the utility would save by not producing the water and electricity itself.
In initial discussions, Thomas said, the two parties could not agree on a figure, so a consultant, Stone and Webster, was brought in and arrived at a figure acceptable to both parties — 6.9 cents per kilowatt hour. Thomas said purchasing power from CTW for the same amount of money that it would cost for WAPA to produce the power itself would be "the authority's civic responsibility to the community" in helping solve the territory's solid waste problems.
Thomas told WAPA board members at a meeting Tuesday that he will meet with CWT officers to discuss the 6.9-cent figure and methods and scheduling for receipt of electricity. He said he would present a complete package to the board at its next meeting.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull had written to the board chair, Carol Burke, asking WAPA's assistance in solving the over-capacity problems at the Bovoni landfill on St. Thomas and the Anguilla landfill on St. Croix.
Adding to the impending crisis on St. Croix, the Federal Aviation Administration has threatened to shut down the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport if the Anguilla landfill isn't closed by 2002. Smoke from the landfill and the birds it attracts pose dangers to aviation, the FAA contends. The Environmental Protection Agency has imposed many fines on the territory because neither landfill complies with environmental laws.
Repeated calls to Sonya Nelthropp, the Public Works Department's solid waste specialist, for further information on Caribe Waste plans were not returned. The Source could not learn the status of contract negotiations between CWT and the V.I. government.

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