New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Virgin Islands’ Water and Power Association (WAPA) signed a memorandum of understanding detailing NYPA’s agreement to assist WAPA in the rehabilitation and modernization of the islands’ power grid.
The power systems in the U.S. Virgin Islands had been undergoing massive reconstruction after two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, ravaged its communities and damaged major infrastructures. WAPA’s own restoration initiative had been going for a year before the public power provider reached out to NYPA for assistance through the mutual aid process of American Public Power Association (APPA).
New York’s Technical Support for Virgin Islands’ Power System
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced the state’s commitment to provide technical support for restoring and modernizing Virgin Islands’ power grid. The agreement states the nature, breadth, and mechanisms involved in New York’s support for the joint power infrastructure build:
1. Design, Construction, and O&M
NYPA will be involved in the construction, operation, and maintenance of VI WAPA’s electrical grid, including the islands’ generation, transmission, and distribution systems. NYPA’s scope of work will span from the design process up to the conduct of regular and emergency repairs.
2. Integration of Sustainable Systems
The joint endeavor will also aim for the integration of renewable alternatives for generating and storing energy. Along with the development of clean energy sources like solar and wind power, NYPA is also targetting the integration of sustainable demand management systems for WAPA that will safeguard the user’s needs and avoid abuse of available resources
3. Minimize Vulnerability to Threats
WAPA is also in need of assistance in developing corporate governance policies, methodologies, and best practicves that will enhance the grid’s reliability and resiliency in the face of economic and environmental threats.
4. Minimize Impact of Disruptions
The two power authorities will also develop viable strategies focused on minimizing vulnerability, costs, recovery time, and longterm impact of power grid disruptions. This step will entail unified effort to strengthen WAPA’s infrastructure against future weather changes. The two providers are looking into new designs, materials, and monitoring systems to better control the financial and physical impact of inevitable power disruptions.
5. Form Economic Partnerships
The initiative will also involve strategy development for developing financial channels that will secure future upgrade needs. They will also target forging financial partnerships with existing economic ties, investors, and other stakeholders.
Leveraging APPA’s Network to Stengthen the Power Grid
NYPA president and CEO Gil Quiniones expressed support and appreciation of this mutual aid endeavor by NYPA and VI WAPA. Quiniones considers this an excellent strategy to for leveraging existing expertise and resources among fellow utilities.
Mike Hyland, APPA’s Senior Vice President for Engineering services also expressed the association’s eagerness about the mutual agreement. The NYPA and WAPA deal reflects how the national public network spurs cooperation and knowledge sharing to strengthen its members and prepare them for challenging times.
WAPA’s continuing rebuild of its electrical system also provided power authorities with learning and for developing their area’s power grid. The APPA has since been conducting multiple workshops for heightened emergency responsiveness during storms and other environmental catastrophes.