NRG Energy Cuts Ribbon for Solar Development in U.S. Virgin Islands
NRG Energy cut the ribbon on its Spanish Town Estate Solar Project located on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The project will generate 4 MW of renewable energy, which is enough to power roughly the homes of 1,500 customers.
The Spanish Town Estate project will be an important step toward the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Croix achieving their renewable energy goal to reduce fossil fuel-based energy consumption by 60 percent over the next decade. The project was also good for economic growth, creating nearly 100 direct and indirect jobs and injecting an estimated $3 million into the local economy.
“Now home to NRG’s first solar facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Spanish Town Estate stands out as an example of how Caribbean nations can tap the power of the sun to provide clean energy to residents without compromising the island’s natural beauty,” said Edouard MacGuffie, vice president of development, NRG Renew Caribbean region. “At NRG Renew, we are proud to celebrate this milestone alongside our partners and we look forward to bringing the power of solar energy to other Caribbean nations looking to follow the precedent we set here in St. Croix.”
Executive director of the U.S. Virgin Island Water and Power Authority discussed the customer-focused aspect of the utility’s work.
“Like several of the other green energy initiatives that the Authority is pursuing, this project will result in lowering energy costs for our customers,” he said. “It will generate clean, reliable solar power for delivery to WAPA customers, and help the Virgin Islands and St. Croix achieve our renewable energy goals for the coming years.”
Business Unit Manager at Toshiba Mark Lonkevych discussed the sustainable aspects of the project and the progress that’s been made thus far.
“With the Spanish Town Estate facility, Toshiba worked with project owner NRG and continued with our mission to bring environmentally friendly options for energy generation to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” he said. “Since we signed our initial agreement with WAPA in 2012, Toshiba has been proud of the progress we have made and how the Spanish Town Estate facility maintains the pristine beauty of the island which was not compromised by economic factors and the detrimental effects of importing and using fossil fuels.”
While this is the first project by NRG in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it certainly won’t be its last. The company already has plans for several solar projects in Haiti, a solar installation slated to begin next year in St. John, and a microgrid development on Necker Island.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.