Potential Options for Electric Power Resiliency in the U.S. Virgin Islands [February 14, 2018] [open pdf - 927KB]
"In September of 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, both Category 5 storms, caused catastrophic damage to the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), which include the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas among other smaller islands and cays. Hurricane Irma hit the USVI on September 6 with the eye passing over St. Thomas and St. John. Fourteen days later, on September 20, the eye of Hurricane Maria swept near St. Croix with maximum winds of 175 mph. The USVI government estimates that total uninsured damage from the hurricanes will exceed $7.5 billion. Although the electric power plants fared 'relatively well' according to the local public water and power utility (the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (VIWAPA)), 80-90% of the power transmission and distribution systems across the USVI were damaged. In November 2017, the government of the USVI estimated that $850 million in hurricane recovery funding is needed to help 'rebuild a more resilient electrical system.' Before the 2017 hurricane season, VIWAPA was already challenged with fiscal problems and aging infrastructure. Although the USVI has never defaulted on its obligations, its fiscal problems include high debt levels, pension obligations, decreasing tax bases, and outdated infrastructures."
CRS Report for Congress, R45105