Local USVI News

Bryan Reaches Out to President Biden Seeking Assistance With Rising Energy Costs

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Governor Albert Bryan has sent written communication to President Joe Biden expressing his concern about rising energy costs and has requested federal support to help fast-track some energy-saving initiatives that will assist the territory as it faces economic challenges linked directly to rising price of fuel.

Gov’t House did not disclose the date when the letter was sent but in a news briefing in mid-March, the governor said he was seeking permanent solutions to the territory’s energy problem.

The rising price of oil has led to drastic increases in energy costs since the war began in Ukraine in February, leading to global surges in related goods and services. On Tuesday morning, the price of Brent Crude, which is the global benchmark, was $109.47.

“Those energy problems that affect us in our houses and those energy problems that affect us on the roads, our new aim is to install as much renewable energy as quickly as possible,” Governor Bryan said at the time.

When asked on Monday during the weekly news briefing to provide an update on the governor’s declaration in mid-March, the administration’s communications director, Richard Motta, said Mr. Bryan recently wrote to the U.S. president expressing his concern and asking for additional federal support.

“Or at least anything that the federal government could do to spearhead the territory’s already ongoing efforts to bring more renewable energy to our grid. And so in terms of a date certain I do not have that but in the interim that is the latest development that I have,” he said.

During the mid-March news conference, the governor said the most evident solution is to set a new energy goal for the territory and fast-track these renewal projects that are already in the works. He is hoping to have St. Croix become solar energy efficient within a 90-day period by using the services of a mainland company to set up the system which over time would be owned by the government.

Mr. Bryan said the V.I. government must lead the way and that the V.I. Energy Office was in the process of purchasing 23 electric vehicles and installing 110 charging stations throughout the territory.

Without disclosing where the charging stations will be positioned, Mr. Bryan said the USVI will continue to move forward toward renewable energy resources and at the same time protect the environment.

“Once we put in those energy stations for some time those will be free,” Mr. Bryan said. “This is our permanent move to get Virgin Islanders away from gas-guzzling vehicles and into energy-efficient vehicles that work on electric. Not only are we doing this but legislation on a national level has allowed us to get a rebate.”

The government already owns six energy-efficient vehicles and two charging stations in the territory.

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