By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam is setting a new goal to reach a 100 percent switch to renewables by 2040, moving the target five years earlier than the current mandate.
“The transition to renewable energy is an opportunity for our island to secure more resilient electricity, open more green job opportunities, and ultimately lower costs for customers," said John Benavente, general manager of Guam Power Authority.
Based on Public Law 35-46, GPA is currently required to “establish a preliminary renewables portfolio standard goal of 100 percent of its net 2 electricity sales by Dec. 31, 2045.”
The Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs has awarded GPA a $3 million grant to begin a study on Guam's transition to renewables, which will be conducted in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
GPA said the study, also known as the “Guam 100,” will set a clear path to achieving 50 percent electricity purchases from renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040. At the same time, it will provide the tools to ensure energy system resilience against extreme weather events, improve energy justice and guide GPA in its investments in modern, intelligent and affordable grid infrastructure for Guam residents and business establishments.
Modeled after the Los Angeles 100 and Puerto Rico 100, the initiative will evaluate pathways to 100 percent renewable energy through an integrated analysis process that includes responsive stakeholder engagement, data generation and gathering, renewable energy scenario development and evaluation, and impact modeling and analysis, GPA said.
The overall goal is to identify affordable, technically sound, resilient and equitable pathways to achieve 100 percent renewable power without compromising the integrity of the electric grid.
"Guam 100 will allow us to model and analyze different scenarios to achieve that goal and determine the ideal path for our island,” Benavente said.
GPA's 60-MW Mangilao solar farm began operating in June last year, generating energy under the contract purchase price of $0.085/kWh.
Officials said the solar farm will produce a minimum amount of 141GWH per year which at today’s LEAC rate translates to about $24 million in annual savings.
In a statement during the official commissioning of the solar farm in July last year, Benavente said the plant was estimated to reduce Guam's annual fuel oil import by another 250,000 barrels. "The 25-year power purchase agreement contract with KMS with a limited 1 percent annual price escalator provides our ratepayers an excellent hedge against fluctuating fuel oil prices,” Benavente said at the solar farm's launch.
Meanwhile, the GCA Trades Academy on Tuesday installed a cutting-edge solar photovoltaic and battery storage facility at its training center in Tiyan.
The facility serves as a laboratory to train individuals in the installation, maintenance, and repair of solar configurations, including batteries, the Trades Academy said.
The project is funded by a $2.2 million federal grant from the DOI's Office of Insular Affairs.
"Acting Gov. Joshua Tenorio and U.S. Department of Interior Office of Insular and International Affairs Assistant Secretary Carmen Cantor, showcased the collaborative efforts of multiple entities in establishing the solar power system at the GCA Trades Academy," the academy said in a press release. "The event emphasized the necessity of the project and its far-reaching impact on Guam’s workforce development and energy sustainability."