Gov. Benigno Fitial yesterday proclaimed October as Energy Awareness Month, a particularly important issue for the CNMI with the current power situation.
During the proclamation Fitial reiterated the process for the CNMI to achieve affordable and reliable power.
A request for proposals to rehabilitate two of the engines at Power Plant 1 has closed and the $3.5 million project is going to be fast tracked in order to get the engines on line as fast as possible, he said. Not all of the four engines currently offline at the power plant will be rehabilitated, though, because “they are ready to be placed in a museum permanently,” he said.
An independent power producer will come in and take over the power generation, while the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will continue power distribution.
“I want this government to get out of that [power generation] business, because we don’t know anything about power generation,” he said. “We’re very good at pretending to know…we’ll leave the generation to experts.”
Fitial is looking at other renewable energy sources, including coal and geothermal.
Last week, workers from China came to the CNMI to demonstrate a new technology that sequesters the emissions from coal, he said. The CNMI has received grants from the Department of the Interior to assess the possibility of geothermal energy for the Commonwealth.
“Geothermal is not only reliable and sustainable but very cheap, so that is going to be our future,” he said.
To go along with energy awareness, Fitial is joining governors from across the United States in declaring today Energy Star Change a Light Day. Citizens are encouraged to switch to light fixtures or bulbs that have earned the Energy Star label. The label designates products that meet energy efficient guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If every citizen in the CNMI changes one light bulb, some 3.7 million kWh of energy could be saved and 5.65 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions reduced.
At yesterday’s signing, Fitial also declared October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.