Will Guam’s Utility Ever Go Completely Renewable?

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A panel discussed the future of Guam’s Energy Structure at a the UOG Island Sustainability Conference. 

Guam – At a panel discussion on renewable energy today, some panel members wondered what consequence is there for large utilities to follow through on their commitments to pursue renewable energy and decrease dependence on fossil fuels.

 

PUC Administrative Law Judge Fred Horecky says there’s no policy on Guam that really forces GPA to move towards any specific percentage of renewable energy.

 

“I think what we found on a lot of these issues that policy is never stagnant, it’s always changing. It changes through legislative input, through regulatory input from the PUC. I heard discussion of the portfolio standards in Alaska are without teeth and Guam’s are similar to that, said Horecky.

 

A renewable portfolio standard is a regulation that requires increased production of energy to renewable energy. Here on Guam, the question remains whether GPA is working towards a day where renewable energy will become the primary way to provide power.

 

“The challenge is, lets say we went down the road where we shut down all these generators and just used photovoltaic farms,” said CCU Chairman Joey Duenas. “You need 255, you need 255 i cant stress it, you need 255, no 255 no power.”

 

Duenas, and Horecky agree that the challenge is from 6-9 pm. As Guam residents are aware, this is peak time, a time when Duenas says renewable energy like solar will never be able to cover. This is why GPA’s plan is to build 18o megawatts of fuel based generation, which is not part of its IRP.

 

“Of course in Hawaii, they are moving towards 100 percent renewable by 245, now Guam has fairly relaxed standards at present. The utility has generally come to the decision that it needs fuel fired generators, combined cycle units to continue to operate, of course solar operates during the day but not when the peak is on Guam which is at night so how do you deal with that, that’s certainly a policy issue that will come before the Public Utilities Commission,” said Horecky.

 

Currently the next step in GPA’s IRP, which is Phase II of it solar project is non-existent. It was cancelled last month so GPA could re bid it out to include battery storage. The bid was originally put out for phase ii two years ago. Duenas says it should be rebid by the end of the month.