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Proposal would cost CNMI 30 cents per kilowatt hour over 20 years

Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, February 21, 3009) –The House of Representatives is considering the proposal of Synergy Power Corp. to supply the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation with renewable energy and set up a wind turbine manufacturing plant in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

Speaker Arnold I. Palacios, R-Saipan, in an interview following Synergy’s presentation last week, said they are very receptive to the idea but "it needs further discussions."

He said anything that has something to do with renewable energy should be of interest to the CNMI since it is now becoming a necessity in light of last year’s successive oil price hikes.

David van Over, the president and CEO of Synergy, made a Power Point presentation in the House chamber regarding his company and its proposal.

Using wind turbines, the energy firm plans to produce 500,000 kilowatt hours of power a day which will cost the CNMI 30 cents per kwh over a 20-year period.

A wind mill that gets wind with speed of 10 miles per hour can produce 1,000 kwhs in 24 hours, van Over said.

For its manufacturing plant, the firm will need 500,000 square meters of land in the CNMI, he added.

Van Over fielded questions from the lawmakers during the presentation.

Palacios said van Over was able to answer their questions, most of which were about the technical aspects of the project.

"But we would like to hear more," Palacios said.

Rep. Joseph C. Reyes, R-Saipan, said the proposal needs further scrutiny.

He acknowledged the economic benefits that the project can bring to the CNMI, "but providing public land to this kind of an operation should be approached prudently."

Aside from providing additional energy, the proposal will also create employment opportunity for locals, pay taxes to government, and allow the commonwealth to have a share of the company’s export revenues, van Over said.



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