PSS energy project still waiting for go-signal

Posted on Mar 15 2012

The Public School System’s green energy project remains waiting for the go-signal from the U.S. Division of Fish and Wildlife, according to Saipan Southern High School principal Jesse Tudela yesterday.

The project was temporarily put on hold last year due PSS’ failure to secure the necessary permit in building the wind turbines at the Manta Ray campus.

The decision of Fish and Wildlife was initially expected in January but Tudela said this was delayed to the end of this month.

“The project is still ongoing but we need to wait for the final decision [on the wind turbines] from the federal agency. We’re optimistic that the decision will come out very soon, hopefully this month,” he said.

The CNMI Division of Energy received $6.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy last year for renewable projects, $2.4 million of which was given to PSS for the installation of wind turbines and solar panels at 11 schools.

In March last year, a groundbreaking was held at SSHS for the building of six 95-foot wind turbines and 95 solar panels on campus. After the project’s completion, SSHS is expected to produce as much as 165 kilowatts, enough to power the entire campus and save up to $200,000 in utility costs annually.

Tudela said that government agencies involved in the project were recently on campus for onsite inspection.

“We’re expecting the solar panels to be operational anytime as soon as these are connected,” he said.

However, the installation of the six wind turbines at the campus has yet to happen pending the decision of Fish and Wildlife. The green energy project was initially targeted to be completed within 2011.

Saipan Tribune learned that the green energy project was first conceptualized for Saipan Southern by former principal Craig Garrison who applied for the grant. This has been expanded to include the entire PSS to help other schools. Fish and Wildlife officials visited the site in summer last year and ordered the temporary work stoppage on the wind turbine phase of the project.

The project was awarded to Pacific Green Integrated Technology Inc. and Pacific Wind & Solar, LLC in September 2010.

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