November 2, 2011
By Moneth Deposa, Reporter, Saipan Tribune, www.saipantribune.com 2 November 2011
The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has put the Public School System’s green energy project on hold following a determination that the project has failed to secure the necessary permit from the federal agency to build wind turbines at Saipan Southern High School.
SSHS principal Jesse Tudela confirmed this with the Saipan Tribune, saying the decision whether this phase of the project will push through or not will be known in January 2012.
“The green energy project is on-hold because of the permits from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and we’re expecting the decision by January next year whether it is still a go or not,” Tudela said.
The CNMI Division of Energy received $6.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy last year for renewable energy projects, $2.4 million of which was given to PSS for the installation of wind turbines and solar panels at 11 schools. In March this year, a groundbreaking was held at SSHS for the building of six 95-feet wind turbines and 95 solar panels on campus. The project would have allowed SSHS to produce its own electricity-as much as 165 kilowatts-enough to power the entire campus and save up to $200,000 in utility payments annually.
Tudela said there are two phases of the energy project: the wind turbines and the solar panels. He revealed that additional equipment for the solar panels is expected this month in time for its scheduled completion in December this year. For the wind turbines, however, that phase is now “unsure,” he said.
“But we’re still hopeful and we’re receiving monthly updates from the project manager. We need this energy project because it will get the entire school off the CUC grid. Failure to get this project done will mean we’re not going to have that capability to become self sufficient in terms of alternative energy,” he said.
Without the delay, the wind turbine project was slated for completion within the year.
Tudela said the green energy project was first conceptualized for SSHS by former principal Craig Garrison, who applied for the grant. This has been expanded to cover the entire PSS.
Tudela said that U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials visited the site before summer and ordered the temporary work stoppage on the wind turbine phase of the project.
The project was awarded to Pacific Green Integrated Technology Inc. and Pacific Wind & Solar, LLC in September 2010.
This article is provided as a service of National Wind Watch, Inc.
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