By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Guam Power Authority announced plans to lay more power transmission lines underground as part of its efforts to harden the island's power infrastructure and make it more resilient to withstand typhoons.
"Typhoon Mawar has shown us the critical importance of our electric grid, and we know firsthand that a successful recovery is hinged upon timely power restoration," said John Benavente, GPA general manager.
GPA stands to receive $1.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electrical Grid Grants program, which was established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Guam anticipates receiving approximately $864,000 in funding every year for five years through the program. The $1.7 million award accounts for the first two years of funding.
GPA said the federal funds will be used "to improve the electric grid, prevent power outages and reduce the impact of extreme weather events on electrical infrastructure."
The plan is to lay underground key transmission lines supplying Guam Waterworks Authority water and wastewater facilities.
"This investment will both strengthen our grid against typhoons and allow it to handle our island’s growing energy demands, ensuring the people of Guam have access to power that meets their needs," Benavente said.
Currently, nearly 25 percent of Guam’s power customers receive their power through underground lines, allowing GPA to operate a portion of the grid during typhoons.
Enhancing energy infrastructure to make it more resilient against the effects of climate change while supporting the integration of renewable energy is a key element of GPA’s Clean Energy Master Plan," GPA said.