Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Climate Change in the Pacific Southwest
EPA Region 9's Pacific Islands Office is supporting the Pacific Island territories in planning for their future energy needs and to adopt renewable energy. We are working with the territories to initiate an energy strategy planning process and work group (involving local and federal stakeholders), held an energy workshop in Saipan on June 22 (in conjunction with our 26th Pacific Islands Environment Conference), and are assisting the territories in planning for use of their Recovery Act funding.
Pacific Islands Environment Conference Held June 22-25, 2009 in Saipan
Region 9 worked with the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Department of Environmental Quality (CNMI DEQ) to organize our bi-annual Pacific Islands Environment Conference from June 22-25 in Saipan. The theme of this year’s conference was “Climate of Change: Energizing a Sustainable Future for Pacific Islands." The conference was attended by over 400 participants from across the Pacific and the U.S. mainland, which included the governors of CNMI and Guam as well as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Environment) and the EPA Region 9 Acting Regional Administrator.
As part of the conference, Region 9 organized a CNMI Energy Summit to provide an overview of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency strategies to conference participants and public officials. The Energy Summit was followed by the first official meeting of the CNMI Energy Steering Committee. This committee is charged with developing a long-term plan to reduce CNMI's dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Alternative Energy from Violations: A Renewable Energy Project in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands
Saipan Southern High School's (SSHS) consumption of diesel generated power is now expected to decrease following the installation of the CNMI’s first alternative energy project, which will use a combination of both solar and wind sources on campus. The project was proposed to the school by the now defunct Concorde Garment Manufacturing Co. of Tan Holdings as an alternative means of settling the fines it owed to EPA for violations of environmental rules.
Concorde recognized that Saipan schools are suffering financially due to recent dramatic increases in the cost of electrical power and frequent power outages. The Public School System was excited to accept the project since these outages often cause the schools to close, resulting in a disruption to education, scheduling, and student transportation. Increased power costs also severely impact school budgets, resulting in reduced educational services to students.
The project will not only allow the school to cut its monthly electrical bill by $250 per month but will benefit student’s education. Students will acquire and analyze wind and solar data, while teachers integrate the mechanics of alternative energy sources into the natural science curriculum of SSHS.
The energy produced by the wind turbine and solar panels will be recorded and measured by means of the Sky Stream’s internal data logging system and by the Green Meter.