Eight Solar Farms Proposed By Guam Power Authority

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190 acres could be leased from Department of Defense for projects

By Maria Hernandez

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 11, 2015) – Approximately 192 acres of Department of Defense land could be leased to the Guam Power Authority for 37 years to build eight solar farms.

The proposed farms would produce up to 43.8 megawatts of direct-current solar-generated energy that would feed into GPA's electric grid for public and military use, according to a draft environmental assessment from the U.S. Navy, which is the lead agency for the project.

Guam's first major solar farm is currently being built in Inarajan. When the $108 million solar project is complete, it will power about 10,000 homes, news files state. The farm was scheduled to be completed in March but has been delayed in part by challenges caused by bad weather.

The assessment states the proposed solar farms would help reduce the amount of fuel oil burned for power, as well as reduce the island's dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.

Art Perez, spokesman for Guam Power Authority, las week couldn't be reached for comment.

Northern Guam

Four sites in northern Guam including South Finegayan, the former Tumon Tank Farm, the Harmon Booster Station and the Harmon Annex would be leased to Guam Power Authority by Commander, Joint Region Marianas, the assessment states.

The project would provide clean, renewable energy and decrease energy costs and dependency on fossil fuels, the assessment states.

Along Marine Corps Drive

According to the assessment, the Harmon Annex, Harmon Booster Station and Tumon Tank Farm lie along Route 1 near residential, commercial and light industrial areas.

The South Finegayan Site will be located off Route 3.

The proposed sites at Naval Base Guam are approximately 10 and 20 miles southwest of the Guam airport and Andersen Airfield, respectively.

No adverse effects?

The assessment states that adverse effects to "air quality; noise, topography and soils; water resources; biological resources; visual resources; land use; roadways; electrical and water utilities; and socioeconomic conditions" aren't expected.

No historical properties would be affected by the project; there would be no effect on views from scenic vantage points, the assessment states.

Aircraft and adjacent properties could be affected by glare from sunlight reflecting off the solar panels. A tool developed by the Sandia National Laboratories will assess the effects of the solar glare. An analysis shows that potential impacts from glint and glare won't be significant, the assessment states.

During the construction phase, vehicle trips by construction workers who will be delivering equipment for the project will have a short-term effect on traffic.

Plants and animals

Surface vegetation will be removed in areas where equipment for the project will be built. Site preparation would include grubbing, grading and vegetation removal where equipment will be placed, according to the assessment.

The Harmon Annex and Harmon Booster Station sites may be habitats for the Micronesian gecko, Mariana eight-spot butterfly and Mariana wandering butterfly, the assessment states. However, it states none of the species were observed during surveys.

According to the assessment, the land would be leased for up to 37 years, including renewal options.

The proposed project is related to a presidential memorandum signed by President Obama in 2013 that requires federal agencies to produce or procure from renewable sources 20% of electricity by fiscal 2020.

DOD is working with other federal agencies to reach the 20% renewable-energy goal under the memorandum, the assessment states.

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