After Hurricanes, Rebuild Includes Microgrid on St. Thomas

Feb. 2, 2021
California-based Capstone Turbine is providing microturbines for a microgrid project underway at the Estate Donoe Redevelopment Housing Project in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. 

California-based Capstone Turbine is providing microturbines for a microgrid project underway at the Estate Donoe Redevelopment Housing Project in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. 

The redevelopment project will replace the Estate Donoe public housing complex damaged by Hurricanes Marilyn, Irma and Maria.

The project includes new housing, with 84 apartments across 14 buildings on more than 10 acres of land. Partial funding for the project comes from federal disaster recovery funds to support housing and economic revitalization following hurricane disasters. 

The community redesign features increased energy efficiency, reduced emissions and improved resiliency while meeting national green building standards.

Eighty-four families, many displaced because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, will have access to the new units when the project is complete in September 2021. The new residences will be affordable for low-income families. 

The on-site microgrid features four propane-fueled C65 Capstone microturbines, a 1,247-kWh battery energy storage system, 584 kW of solar photovoltaic cells, and an E-Finity microgrid controller. The microgrid system provides 100% of the needed electrical energy and is independent of the local utility grid. 

“We continue to see the rise of microgrids or decentralized groups of electricity sources and loads that operate connected to the grid and those that operate in stand-alone or island mode, as in this project,” said Darren Jamison, president and CEO of Capstone Turbine. “Energy resilient microgrids are an excellent way for customers to reduce their energy costs, while, at the same time, reducing their carbon footprint.”

The Eastern Caribbean location of the Virgin Islands makes the area vulnerable to short- and long-term physical and economic damage from storms, earthquakes and hurricanes. These events can result in grid outages. With the built-in resiliency of Capstone’s microturbines, customers can benefit from high reliability along with seamless and continuous operation.

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About the Author

Sharon Bennett

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