Engine for CUC Power Plant 3 arriving April 4


A 1.5-megawatt engine that will serve as an emergency backup system to power the water wells at the Saipan airport will arrive on Saipan on April 4, 2023, according to acting Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Dr. Dallas M. Peavey Jr. The new engine will be installed at CUC’s Power Plant 3 in Isley Field.

“We are already beginning the process for having everything in place for that,” Peavey said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s a [Federal Emergency Management Agency]-funded project.”

Peavey described the engine as a Caterpillar that is self-generating, which means it stands its own, is self-contained, and will have remote control capability.

Power Plant 3 was deactivated in 2002, but CUC is now reactivating it for the use of water wells during emergencies or disasters.

Former CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho earlier disclosed that the funding for the new engine will be coming from the $7.3-million FEMA grant for the water hazard mitigation.

Now that a lot of water wells in the area have been rehabilitated, CUC determined that Power Plant 3 is vital, based on the lessons they learned from super typhoons Soudelor in 2015 and Yutu in 2018.

In May 2021, the CUC board approved the lease terms of a draft agreement between CUC and the Commonwealth Ports Authority over CUC’s plan to build a 1.5-megawatt Power Plant 3 on CPA property to be used during disasters or emergencies. The CUC-CPA agreement was subsequently finalized.

CUC previously stated that there are about 65-67 active wells in the Isley Airport and Obyan areas. These water wells provide water to the southern part of the island and serve about 4,000 to 6,000 households.

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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