USVI Awarded $3.4 Million in Grants to Expand Electric Vehicle Fleet, Support

More electric vehicles will soon be on the road in the U.S. Virgin Islands, thanks to $3.4 million in grants from the Department of the Interior.

A total of $3,441,426 in Energizing Insular Communities grants have been approved for the territory through the department’s Office of Insular Affairs, according to a press release Friday announcing the initiative.

The office has also signed an interagency agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide technical assistance in support of territories’ continued efforts to deploy clean energy systems, improve energy security and resilience, reduce energy costs, and diversify away from dependence on petroleum-based fuels, the release stated.

“The Biden-Harris administration prioritizes energy efficiency and resiliency for all Americans, including the territories,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor. “We look forward to working closely with NREL in supporting the territories’ energy needs in 2022 and beyond.”

The office previously awarded a $1 million Energizing Insular Community grant for the purchase of eight electric Tesla SUVs and a hybrid bucket truck for the V.I. Water and Power Authority.

The USVI grants announced Friday will be distributed as follows:

  • $1,915,790 to the V.I. Water and Power Authority for acquisition of two hybrid bucket trucks for its fleet and related training, and acquisition of 10 electric pickup trucks and installation of charging stations and related training.
  • $900,000 to the Virgin Islands Energy Office to procure four light commercial electric vehicles (EV) and battery storage coupled EV chargers.
  • $625,636 to the University of the Virgin Islands to acquire electric golf carts and install solar EV charging stations. Funds will also purchase bicycles, charging docks, and other street appurtenances to launch a pilot electric bicycle program on the campus.
  • Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands also were awarded grants totaling some $3.2 million each.

“Through this partnership with NREL, the Office of Insular Affairs is helping the territories update and implement existing energy action plans which the House Appropriations Committee called for in House Report 116-100 and will help OIA meet reporting requirements for the study of electric rates in the Insular Areas under 48 US Code 1492a,” according to the release.

Congress called for OIA to help the territories reduce reliance and expenditures on imported fuels, develop and utilize domestic energy sources, improve the performance of energy infrastructure, and strengthen overall energy efficiency and resiliency for these island communities, the release noted.

The latest energy reports from the territories and more information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Energizing Insular Communities program can be found on its website.