V.I. Housing Finance Authority closed off 2022 with the submission of a finalized Electrical Power Systems Enhancement and Improvement Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that ultimately determines how $67 million in CDBG-DR funding awarded to the territory for unmet energy infrastructure needs will be spent, announced VIHFA Interim Executive Director Dayna Clendinen.
The funding was appropriated by Congress in response to the storms of 2017. Within the plan, $53 million is proposed for the installation of new conventional generation and battery energy storage to improve reliability at the Estate Richmond Power Plant on St. Croix while $10 million will be put toward independent, community-oriented local projects that will benefit the electrical grid. The balance of the $67M will be used for planning and administration of the grant funds.
“Energy reliability is one of our territory’s most pressing concerns, and being able to partner with the V.I. Water and Power Authority and make investments in the installation of new and efficient generation capacity will yield tangible improvements for the people of the Virgin Islands,” IED Clendinen said.
Expanding those efforts beyond WAPA is a community innovation component, which allows local entities – businesses and non-profits, for example – to offer new solutions and apply for the federal funding needed to implement them.
“This component is significant because it paves the way for the development of innovative projects that can begin to meet the energy needs of our communities in ways that may supplement WAPA’s efforts,” IED Clendinen said.
Once formal approval of the plan by HUD is received and a grant agreement executed, VIHFA will begin accepting applications. These will be reviewed for eligibility and compliance with federal requirements and undergo a capacity and environmental assessment. VIHFA anticipates funding awards to made in the Spring of 2023.
“I extend my gratitude to those in our community who helped provide the input necessary to shape this plan. Through the public hearing process, and the subsequent comment period, your willingness to engage and participate in the dialogue truly offered new insight and perspective – we could not have done this without you,” IED Clendinen said.