Tinian could help support Saipan’s power needs if an emergency arises, as stated by the former board of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., according to Rep. Francisco S. Dela Cruz (R-Saipan).
Dela Cruz said that Tinian-CUC has a 20-megawatt system composed of four 2.5-megawatt engines and two 5-MW engines.
Yet Tinian’s power demand is only between two to three MW.
“I informed Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres, based on the research that CUC has 10MW that can be brought in and it is just five to six miles away from us,” said Dela Cruz.
“These engines are owned by CUC. If there were really a critical emergency here on Saipan, then the fastest option would be to look into the two 5MW engines on Tinian. These two 5MW are something that we could look into.”
What CUC could do is to plan how to bring these engines to Saipan. “Logistics and planning in transporting and installing such engines would have to be made by CUC.”
“They must begin the planning now and not later. Plans like these should already be in the books. In case we are really in an emergency, those two 5MW [engines] can be brought over here within a matter of weeks to supplement what is needed here.”
He also pointed out that the former PMIC plant or Power Plant 4 in Puerto Rico has a capacity of between 10 and 12MW. “The question is whether Power Plant 4 is being utilized and producing power now or is it just for standby.”
Dela Cruz added that this could be clarified by CUC, if the electricity produced by Power Plant 4 is being used or for reserve.
He said that CUC could still procure additional engines in the future but advised it to be transparent, that the process is “done in a prudent, legal, and ethical manner.”
Dela Cruz said the issue of having enough generating capacity just across Saipan should be looked into and needs more discussion. “I know that there would be a lot of discussions on this, but the fact remains that these are a property of CUC.”