PUC urged to deny power plant project

Senator Clynt Ridgell introduced Bill No. 188-35 which seeks to prevent both the Guam Power Authority (GPA) and Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) from back-billing its customers. (PNC photo)

Senator Clynt Ridgell is urging the Public Utilities Commission to disapprove the new power plant contract recently ratified by the Consolidated Commission on Utilities.

According to Ridgell, who held an oversignt hearing on the power plant yesterday, the cost of power from the proposed fossil fuel-burning power plant will be nearly double the price of the most recent renewable energy contracts that the Guam Power Authority has entered into.

Ridgell cited a statement by GPA General Manager John Benavente who said that when the cost of fuel is factored in, the total cost of power production for the proposed power plant will be at $0.15/kwh.

The senator pointed out that it will cost GPA $0.15/kwh to produce power from the proposed plant, while it will cost at the most only $0.08/kwh for GPA to produce power from solar energy.

Ridgell is also concerned that the projected rates don’t factor in the uncertainty of oil and other fossil fuels, which are dictated by market conditions that are beyond GPA’s control.

He cited US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data which forecasts that oil prices will only continue to increase. According to the US EIA, by 2025, the average price of a barrel of Brent crude oil will rise to $81.73/barrel. By 2030, world demand will drive oil prices to $92.98/barrel and by 2040, prices will be $105.16/barrel.

The cost of renewables, on the other hand, is not dictated by the cost of oil and other fossil fuels, the senator said.

Ridgell also remains concerned about the lawsuit filed against the Korea East West Power company (KEWP) for the Cabras 4 explosion. KEWP is now partnered with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to build and operate GPA’s proposed power plant.

Moreover, the senator is concerned about the environmental impacts of the proposed power plant, which will burn fossil fuels and emit carbon into the atmosphere, which may further exacerbate climate change. Renewables, on the other hand, have zero emissions, Ridgell said.

Because of these concerns, Ridgell is urging the Public Utilities Commission to deny the approval of the contract for the proposed power plant.

The senator said he will be submitting formal testimony to the PUC along with the testimony and information received during Tuesday’s oversight hearing.