Sustainability in the near future

Simon Sanchez. PNC file photo

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities swore in new members into office yesterday. On top of their minds, keeping rates low for utility customers while striving for 100% sustainable energy in the coming years.

Utility officials say they’re striving for 100% energy sustainability on the island by 2045 — a little over 20 years from now.

On top of yesterday’s Oath of Office ceremony, the CCU reiterated their long term goals to achieve renewable energy on the island while keeping rates low for residents.

John Benavente, Guam Power Authority General Manager says, “This plan, coupled with renewables, will significantly move us toward this goal within the next few years.”

Striving for complete renewable energy poses some issues if CCU Commissioners want to keep island utility rates from hurting ratepayers wallets.

Re-elected CCU Commissioner Simon Sanchez explained one of these issues yesterday with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

“Clean air requires us to burn a more expensive fuel that’s 50% more expensive and that’s a U.S. EPA requirement, but we comply with it,” says Sanchez.

Sanchez explained that the new Ukudu Power Plant currently in construction is one of those power plants that will burn this “more expensive fuel” for cleaner air.

“This cleaner fuel, we’ve reduced emissions 99%. But the price of the fuel is 50% higher than what we used to pay for the dirty fuel. So there’s your trade off.”

Sanchez called it a balancing act between keeping the island’s power on and saving ratepayers from high prices on their next bill.

“As a ratepayer. we all go ‘well my wallet is more important!’ It is, but if GPA can’t produce the power like what happened in the 80s with the loadshedding and it couldn’t pay it’s bills, then we all suffer,” Sanchez continues.

Utility officials hope to achieve 40% renewable energy by 2027, 50% by 2030, and 100% energy sustainability by 2045.

“Thanks to the hardwork and dedication of the professionals that work at GPA ,we’re going to hit that number in just a few short years, and we’re going to double that number five years early.”