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EPA funds Solar for All Program in US Virgin Islands

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Federal Government, Science and Environment, United States Virgin Islands | 0 comments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO) would be receiving around $62.5 million to develop solar projects under the name Solar for All grant. This funding will allow lower-income residents of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) to develop long-term plans for the residents to benefit from solar power. The money is a portion of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund, a $27 billion in funding allocated under the Biden administration to lower energy costs for families, create jobs in communities that have historically been left behind, and tackle an ongoing climate crisis.  

According to an EPA press release, “The new Virgin Islands Solar for All Program has the power to transform the US Virgin Island’s residential energy landscape, addressing residents’ high electricity costs while creating new opportunities for energy resilience and reliable, affordable, clean power for communities most in need.” The work is part of the EPA’s mission in climate justice, which involves providing all communities with the resources to develop clean energy.

The VIEO is among 49 other state-level awards the EPA provided; in total these awards amounted to $7 billion. This $7 billion was then used to generate $350 million in electrical-related savings, as well as reduce 30 million metric tons in carbon dioxide emissions. This is also beneficial to improve electrical grid reliability and climate resilience which will benefit historically underserved communities. 

In addition to having environmental benefits, this grant provides 200,000 new jobs. Groups who receive money from the EPA intend to invest in local energy programs that will facilitate the pathway towards clean energy. Furthermore, 35% of these applicants have engaged with unions, showing how building clean energy is correlated with union support. 

This funding was incredibly important to the islands as the community because of the history of the islands. “The US Virgin Islands as a whole are a disadvantaged community that has been historically burdened by centralized fossil fuel-based power systems that suffer from high energy costs, and low reliability,” according to Director of the VIEO Kyle Fleming. 

Governor Albert Bryan (D) of USVI declared a state of emergency for the USVI Water and Power Authority (WAPA) in April over concerns about rising energy costs, power rationing, and energy shortfalls, and increased debt across the territory. At the time, Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D) of USVI said in a press release, “As I stated in my letter to Governor Bryan and then-Senate President Francis in 2019, declaring a state of emergency for WAPA and energy within our territory was appropriate then. It is even more so now. The people of the Virgin Islands deserve affordable, reliable power.”



Sanjana Dhanwantri

Sanjana Dhanwantri

Sanjana Dhanwantri is a junior at Edgemont High School in Westchester, NY. She is interested in politics and foreign affairs and hopes for a career in this field. Her hobbies include baking as well as drawing and reading. Sanjana is a Federal Affairs Intern Correspondent at Pasquines.


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