Editorial: Innovation Needed to Fix WAPA

Sen. Milton Potter speaks to residents about their power concerns at a protest held in front of the Legislature on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)

WAPA’s woes are no secret: frequent outages, mounting debt, sky-high rates. Gov. Bryan’s announcement of potential federal funds offers a glimmer of hope, but it’s a temporary fix at best. We need a long-term solution.

WAPA is not optional. It must be fixed and fixed for good. This is a state of emergency. We need a dedicated team of experts – engineers, scientists, financial wizards – and an open invitation to innovators and dreamers to find solutions. This is beyond the capabilities of WAPA’s leadership, the Senate, or the governor’s office. We need fresh ideas and outside help.

We need innovation.

Governor, swallow your pride and call for help. Apple and Microsoft were built in garages. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory was born from a love of model rockets. We need that same spirit of ingenuity here.

The cruise industry, a heavy user of Wãrtsila generators like those in WAPA’s plants, offers a model of efficiency. These floating cities are masters of power management, constantly innovating to reduce fuel costs and waste. Royal Caribbean is even turning waste into water and electricity. Could they share their expertise to help us? It’s worth asking, even begging.

Other cruise lines have also made strides. Princess Cruises’ Medallion system revolutionized passenger management and could offer insights for improving WAPA’s systems.

What else is out there? What company or visionary wouldn’t want to be associated with saving and revitalizing the Virgin Islands’ electrical system?

All roads lead to WAPA. We need drivers.