Home News Local news WAPA OKs 18 Companies for Alternative Energy Bid

WAPA OKs 18 Companies for Alternative Energy Bid

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March 20, 2008 — Narrowing the field, the V.I. Water and Power Authority has pre-qualified 18 companies to bid on supplying non-oil-based power to the territory, WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn told the Source.
WAPA issued a request for proposal in December searching for alternative-energy generators able to produce up to 20 megawatts during peak hours and up to eight megawatts during off-peak hours. (See: "WAPA Looking for Alternative-Energy Providers to Supplement Power Production.")
The winning bidder would have to set up its own generating facility and then connect to WAPA's system. WAPA would then purchase whatever power is needed to meet our needs. It can be any type of power generation, so long as it is not from petroleum.
A wide array of proposals, including coal, biomass, ocean thermal, geothermal, solar and wind production methods of power generation have been proposed by companies from the U.S., Caribbean and Europe, Dunn said.
The RFP was initially sent to 90 companies, but received national attention from a piece on the Dow Jones news wire and received requests for information from over 100 companies. Last month on St. Thomas, WAPA had a pre-bid conference with some of the more serious inquirers.
"We had about 30 people who attended by phone and in person and from those 30 these 20 emerged and finally the 18 that passed the prequalification," she said. "They need to demonstrate they have access to the financing to do the project they are proposing. They need to demonstrate they have experience in designing construction and operating the kind of facility they are proposing and definitely they have to be non-oil-based. Those are basic criteria and if you go in the website, everything about the RFP is there with one click, right on the homepage."
One bidder was rejected because they were unable to show sufficient financial backing and the other because the proposal was for a diesel generating system, she said.
This is the second time WAPA has sent out an RFP for alternative power generation.
When WAPA sent out the first RFP in 2004, it was sent to five companies, but both the PSC and members of the Legislature objected, wanting it limited to two companies.
While the authority subsequently entered into negotiations with Missouri-based Innoventor Technologies, a wind-energy producer, a power-purchase agreement was never finalized. WAPA officials have since said that their decision to suspend negotiations centered on the concern that the company's wind turbines would not be able to withstand hurricane-force winds, among other things. There also was no prequalification process that time.
All proposals are due at the beginning of May and WAPA expects to announce the selected bidder or bidders at the end of June, Dunn said.
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