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By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 23) - The Guam Power Authority is conducting a feasibility study on the possibility of providing seawater air conditioning services to major hotels and business establishments along Tumon Bay.

The envisioned technology, GPA explains, involves "sea-water distribution system."

"GPA will aggressively move forward on this project contingent to result of the detailed feasibility study and financing," GPA states in its position paper presented to the 24th Pacific Islands Environmental Conference at the Guam Hilton Spa. The conference will be concluded today.

"Sea water air conditioning takes advantages of available deep cold sea-water instead of energy-intensive refrigeration systems to cool the chilled water in one or more buildings," GPA’s paper explains.

GPA said a preliminary investigation has identified Tumon Bay as the site of the proposed project because its location has "good access to deep water and high air-conditioning utilization."

GPA said the proposed project is aimed at reducing Guam’s dependency on fossil fuels for electric energy production, while at the same time reducing the environmental effects of using fuels.

"GPA will achieve this goal through the application of innovative renewable technologies to satisfy large consumer end use requirements for air conditioning," GPA stated. "With increasing fuel prices and GPA’s dependency on foreign oil, this project is the first step in major strategic initiative.

GPA said the proposed project seeks to reduce electric energy production for air conditioning use by 41 million kWh in the first year of operation and to maintain the low production for the next 75 years.

This goal translates to an annual reduction in GPA’s consumption of approximately 1.6 million gallons of diesel fuel oil and 1.5 million gallons of residual fuel oil, GPA said.

The development of renewable energy projects is one of the options being pursued by many Pacific islands to supplement their fuel supply.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that Pacific nations and insular territories explore the option of producing biodiesel from coconut and vegetable oils as an alternative source of energy for the region.

The Pacific Islands Environmental Conference is jointly hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Islands Office, Guam EPA, CNMI’s Division of Environmental Quality, and the American Samoa EPA.

Delegates to the conference yesterday watched the Pacific premier of "The Great Warming," a documentary on climate change that incorporates the views of 20 top scientists.

June 24, 2005

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