Madam Speaker, I am pleased to report to this Honourable House today, that significant progress is being made to improve the stability of the Territory’s electricity supply.
The Government recently signed an agreement to undertake Phase V of the BVI Electricity Corporation’s Power Development Plan.
This Plan is intended to cater to the growing demand for electrical energy within the Territory and provide reserve capacity to take care of planned and unplanned maintenance on the generating units, thereby reducing the need for load shedding.
The Phase V Development involves the purchase and installation of two diesel fire generators, consisting of over 16 megawatts of electricity, plus two 34.5 KV cables, which will follow a separate route to the existing Pockwood Pond to Road Town line.
The engines are being purchased from Wartsila, an engineering corporation out of Finland, which is listed in the United Kingdom.
Madam Speaker, Wartsila is no stranger to the Virgin Islands, having installed six 5.5 megawatt engines in the Territory between 1995 and 2006.
This Phase V Power Development Plan will be installed over the next 18 - 24 months.
In the short term, Madam Speaker, the BVI Electricity Corporation is acquiring a Packaged Power Plant, which uses high speed generators, to provide a total of 4.5 megawatts of generating capacity.
I am pleased to report today, that installation work for the Packaged Power Plant has already started.
The Plant is expected to be placed in service before the end of this month, thereby reducing the frequency of power outages.
Subsequent to the installation of the Packaged Power Plant and a transformer being installed at Paraquita Bay, it is expected that the Biwater Plant will be placed directly on the National Grid.
Madam Speaker, this is expected to be completed by the end of April.
As plans progress, Madam Speaker, I am also announcing today, that groundbreaking to mark the beginning of construction for the BVIEC’s Phase V Power Development Programme, will take place on Monday 23rd March 2015.
This project will require road works along the route from Pockwood Pond via the Paul Wattley Drive into Long Bush and excavation work at the Pockwood Pond Power Plant, to expand the building there to accommodate the new generators.
Madam Speaker, in the longer term, plans are also in place to have an additional generator installed in 2018 or 2019, as part of Phase 6 of the BVIEC Power Development Plan.
This will put the Corporation in good standing, from a generation/transmission standpoint.
As these development plans come to fruition, Madam Speaker, we also introduced the First Reading of the British Virgin Islands Amendment Act 2015, at the 12th February 2015 sitting of this Honourable House.
The Second and Third Readings will be going through the House today.
Madam Speaker, this legislation would allow individuals, in conjunction with the BVI Electricity Corporation, to generate their own electricity, using renewable energy means.
It also implements a Net Metering System, where renewable energy consumers will only be billed for any extra energy sourced from the BVI Electricity Corporation.
Madam Speaker, I wish to commend the BVI Electricity Corporation – the Board, management and staff – for their efforts to keep the Territory lit over the years, under the circumstances.
I wish to also thank the business and residential community for their patience, as we work to improve the power situation in the Territory.
Thank you Madam Speaker.