The Office of Insular Affairs has awarded the Commonwealth a total of $1.25 million in fiscal year 2018 grant funding through OIA’s Energizing Insular Communities program for three high priority energy projects.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced the grant award yesterday. “As a Commonwealth, we have been taking proactive steps to become more environmentally sustainable.
Torres thanked DOI Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech and OIA Director Nik Pula for approving these grant applications.
“These three initiatives all tackle energy efficiency initiatives that address key areas of infrastructure and ecosystem protection…Ultimately, these projects are part of the overall energy strategy of reducing the cost of electricity and reducing dependence on foreign fuels,” Torres said.
He commended the Department of Public Works, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Department of Lands and Natural Resources, and the Office of Grants Management teams for their work and coordination on these competitive grant applications.
Of the money going to the CNMI, $847,737 is awarded to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. for the LED Streetlight Efficiency Project.
“This is wonderful news for [CUC] and to the CNMI in general. It is this type of support and collaboration that creates a better community for our citizens. …CUC plans to replace all 4,941 obsolete LED and HPS street lights that exist in its grid with more energy-efficient LED streetlight fixtures. This can save up to 50 to 80 percent of power being drawn from the grid and used to supply power to existing led and HPS streetlights,” CUC executive director Gary Camacho said.
A total of $283,735 is awarded to the Department of Public Works’ Division of Solid Waste Management for the Pyrolysis Pilot Program.
According to Public Works Secretary James A. Ada, the Pyrolysis Pilot Program will focus on reducing and recycling waste plastic within the CNMI.
“Rather than being brought to the Marpi Landfill, plastics would be diverted to the DPW-SWM’s recycling center to be converted to usable oil. The byproduct from this machine will be used for power generation at the recycling center. One of the goals of this initiative is also to be able to deploy SWM staff to collect recycled waste plastic from local residences. Through this, it will also allow citizens of the island to conserve fuel as they would not need to transport recycled plastics to the SWM center. Not only will this process lessen dependence on foreign fuels by both SWM and the residents of the CNMI, it will also reduce the carbon and plastic footprints,” Ada said.
A total of $118,528 s awarded to the Department of Lands and Natural Resources for the standalone photovoltaic light systems for coconut rhinoceros beetle detection, eradication, and bio-control program.
“This project will help in keeping our management of the CRB invasive species epidemic energy efficient and ultimately fully eradicated on Rota. Invasive species pose a huge threat to our islands, and we remind our community to be vigilant about the coconut rhino beetles and their potential to affect our island’s agriculture and resources. We join Gov. Torres in commending our personnel at the frontline of the eradication. We are hopeful we can eliminate CRBs completely and prevent spread to any other islands,” said Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony T. Benavente. (PR)