Guam Power Authority is planning to build a wind turbine in the Cotal conservation area in Santa Rita.
The turbine is part of a $1.5 million project to determine the amount of energy that can be produced in that area. The project marks the power authority’s continuous effort to begin reducing the island’s oil dependency and bring stable energy prices to its customers, officials said.
“The volatility of fuel prices have made us have to raise rates over the past years,” Melinda Camacho, GPA assistant general manager, said.
The most recent rate increase was on Feb. 1 by the power agency. The main reason behind the increase cited by GPA was the cost of fuel from a new fuel supplier contract.
Simon Sanchez, the Consolidated Commission on Utilities chairman, said moving to renewable energy provides guaranteed energy at a fixed price unlike oil, which can go up at any time.
GPA chose to develop a single wind turbine in the Cotal conservation area in Santa Rita because the power agency found it has “several viable locations for a wind turbine project.”
It’s estimated that the single turbine can power 30 to 40 houses – that’s about 250 kilowatts of energy. But it’s only the first step for the agency, which also plans to build wind turbines that will provide 10 megawatts of energy.
In order to produce enough wind energy there needs to be an average wind speed of 19 miles per hour, according to the power agency and the Cotal conservation area met that need.
“We want to use that turbine as a test area and see how the wind production is as a part of the bigger picture for renewable energy,” said Art Perez, spokesman for GPA.
Development of the single turbine is expected to begin in 2015, according to a resolution submitted to the Consolidated Commission on Utilities earlier this month.
Funding for the project comes from U.S. Department of Interior Office of Insular affairs grants, according to GPA. The total amount awarded was $1.5 million.
When asked, the power agency could not confirm who the contractor for the single turbine would be.
GPA must work with the Department of Parks and Recreation and Guam Department of Agriculture on the project because the Guam Code Annotated gives those departments control of land and waters that have been set aside by the government of Guam as conservation reserves and both departments must manage the wise use of soil, water, plants and animals of the reserve.
No specifics on how the power agency expects to meet all the needs for the conservation area’s protection were given in the resolution.
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