by Jolene Toves
Guam - Leading the next generation, the Guam Power Authority is hosting a forum to discuss their integrated resource plan. 250 megawatts of power is generated each day and creating that energy carries a heavy price tag that island residents are all too familiar with.
Leading the next generation GPA says what is certain is doing nothing will cost us more. Consolidated Commission on Utilities chairperson Simon Sanchez said, "We have been studying the ways to do this for many, many years led by our general manager and our team and we've looked at different ways and different mixes of technology that could do those things to reduce the cost maintain reliability and provide cleaner energy."
While there is no magic bullet the integrated resource plan evaluates those options and how they might mix. "The emerging result seems to be a mix of liquid natural gas generation, retiring our older less efficient generators replacing them with more efficient generators that clean burn a cleaner fuel not heavy oil but gas which is cleaner and the emergence of solar energy," he said.
Sanchez says that combination will reduce the cost of energy for all of Guam, estimating a saving of $900 million in fuel and operating costs. "While still having reliable power because its no good in having cheap power if the lights go out every thirty minutes. Its cheap but it keep going out so you need it reliable and now we are very concerned with the carbon footprint," he said.
Picking generation in a way that the amount of emissions into the environment is reduced equally important EPA requires all of the power industry to burn cleaner when producing energy. As a result there has been a huge movement toward gas, and renewables such as wind and solar. Sanchez says in the old days GPA was the only provider of energy but today there is GPA and eighty other power producers on Guam. "They only make the energy for themselves but they are making energy and they are doing it with renewable they are not burning any fuel and they are saving money," he said.
And that model can work for the entire island. By December 30 megawatts of power will be produced through a solar farm in Dandan. Sanchez says you can see the relationship created as the generation of power through renewables means less oil needs to be burned. He adds this mix of renewable energy and more efficient base load energy can combine to lower energy costs.
The Integrated Resource Plan may be the solution GPA is seeking to create balanced generation of future power that is reliable affordable and clean. To get an in depth look at the plan the public is invited to attend GPA's summit on Monday April 14th at the Hyatt.