The inconvenient truth of the USVI’s energy future is either grim or unknown,

depending on who you talk to. Nobody can predict the future and it would be unfair to blame the perilous status of our islands (as it relates to energy) on any one entity or person. But, then again, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that the storm clouds have been gathering for some time.

Our leaders have perennially kicked the can down the road, expecting great things from the next Governor or the next Legislature, and allowing the status quo to continue. This is not just a local thing. Our Federal leaders are our model when it comes to governance and they’ve pretty much driven the bus into a ditch, too. The un-sustainability of the way we live is catching up with us. Have we reached the tipping point?

When Hovensa announced they were closing up shop, our elected leaders claimed they were taken completely by surprise. Are they lying? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say simply that they didn’t see it coming.

But even a modestly informed newspaper-reader knows about the numerous EPA infractions at the refinery. And the age and design of the plant itself. And the new Hess refinery down-island. And about the volatile worldwide energy market. And the finite supply of crude oil. And terrorists. And speculators. And the recession. And…

OK. So, the best we can say is that our leaders were woefully oblivious to reality and therefore allowed the tipping point to become a real possibility.

You and I require gas to drive our cars and electricity to light our homes. Hovensa announced that, along with shutting down the refinery and putting hundreds of Cruzians out of work, it would no longer supply discount fuel to the islands. Yes, it seems that besides paying the highest energy cost under a US flag, we have also been getting a deal on it. It sounds too absurd to be true, but it’s not.

Gov. deJongh has somehow encouraged Hovensa to extend the supply through the end of the year, but we have yet to see even a ray of sunshine on the horizon. On March 16, WAPA requested bids for the supply of #2 and #6 fuel oil. That’s what they need to keep the generators running. Thirty-seven sources were contacted. One replied. Read the VI Source article here.

The Chinese have an ancient curse: May you live in interesting times. That’s what it says in our fortune cookie.

UPDATE: Read more about WAPA’s search for fuel here.


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