The guard shack at the WAPA generator adjacent to The Marketplace in Estate Enighed was manned on Sunday, June 8, although the generator is not operational — and is now too small to serve St. John.
St. John no longer has sufficient emergency back-up generating capacity to serve its own needs.
In fact, St. John has no back-up generating capacity in the event of a catastrophic failure of the “extension cord” cable connecting the island to WAPA on St. Thomas.
WAPA’s 2.5-megawatt St. John generator on South Shore Road in Enighed next to The Marketplace is too small to support the St. John power grid by itself.
And, it doesn’t work anyway, according to the St. John representative to the V.I. Water and Power Authority.
“It is a fact, Cheryl (St. John WAPA board member Cheryl Boynes-Jackson) testified three weeks ago (in her confirmation hearing) before Senator (Sammuel) Sanes’ Rules and Judiciary Committee hearing,” Sen. Barshinger told St. John Tradewinds on June 4. “She testified the generator was only 2.5 megawatts, not enough to serve St. John — and it doesn’t work.”
Boynes Jackson did not return calls for comment from St. John Tradewinds.
If WAPA won’t assure St. John of emergency power, should St. John make other plans to be self-sufficient?
If St. John had the storage capacity to harness all the solar power produced by St. John residential units instead of selling it back to WAPA at an arbitrary price— maybe owned by a cooperative of island producers — could the island be self-sufficient in emergencies?
Until then, however, WAPA apparently will continue to have a guard on duty at the non-functioning generator.