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CUC board adopts Integrated Resource Plan

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Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board chair Miranda Manglona presides over a special meeting yesterday afternoon at CUC’s conference room at the Joeten Dandan Building. The board approved the request of CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho to adopt the CUC Integrated Resource Plan. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board of directors adopted yesterday CUC’s Integrated Resource Plan, which is a comprehensive decision-support mechanism that creates a long-term roadmap using financial modeling and technical analysis to determine the best options for supplying electricity over the long run at the least possible cost on Saipan and Rota.

The CUC board directors adopted without discussion the Integrated Resource Plan after hearing the presentation of CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho and CUC engineer Yvonne Ogumoro. CUC first developed the plan in 2014.

Camacho, who requested for the special meeting, said in a later interview that, although the Integrated Resource Plan is already outdated, they need the board to adopt it as there are a lot of items that they are currently doing in preparation for a need to have a new power plant.

“Again, this is an opinion, this is a study, a determination for the production program on Saipan and Rota,” he said. Part of that is recognizing the age of CUC’s power equipment and start with changing the plan to prepare for a new power plant, he said, adding that the goal is to address the aged facility and to incorporate the newest technologies possible.

Camacho said they do have a $600,000 funding for an updated version of the study as an Integrated Resource Plan’s lifespan is only three to five years.

However, he said, the board’s adoption of the old plan is essential in moving forward because they are already doing a good number of the items recommended on it.

“We have been following the document and getting an update, then we’ll recognize the available and the different types of technology available and identify what’s best for this part of the world at this time,” Camacho said.

He said they want to continue to have these studies and review to ensure that they acquire the latest technology and the most appropriate and efficient and effective equipment for the CNMI’s power supply moving forward.

Camacho said the Department of the Interior funded the old study for $500,000, and they expect to get $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development, through the Northern Marianas Housing Corp., for the new study.

“So, I just want to make it clear that we’re following that document accordingly. And when the new document is out, then we are [going to] incorporate those,” he said.

This Integrated Resource Plan, Camacho said, tells CUC to prepare the diesel power plant with 10 megawatts of solar.

Camacho said it is imperative that the board review and consider this Integrated Resource Plan as CUC already has been doing a good number of the things that’s part of this study.

“We have to do it in order to ensure that we have a viable power supply moving forward,” he said.

In her PowerPoint presentation, Ogumoro said they started this plan with then-CUC executive director Alan Fletcher in 2014 when she was with the Water and Wastewater engineering.
Using a federal grant, CUC hired Leidos Engineering LLC through a competitive bid process, and the National Renewable Energy Lab was also consulted to create the plan, Ogumoro said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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