23 Jan 2012

CNMI struggles with renewable energy targets

8:23 am on 23 January 2012

The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation in the Northern Marianas is moving ahead with plans to tap into renewable energy sources but won't meet set legal targets.

By law the Corporation is required to derive at least 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources from 2012.

Its executive director, Abe Utu Malae, says this is impossible, as the company is only now reviewing solar energy proposals, one which includes utilising local geothermal energy, and another looking to convert waste to energy.

Our correspondent Mark Rabago says going green is expected to produce an additional 15 to 20 megawatts for Saipan's power grid.

"The power grid for Saipan is about 40 to 50 megawatts for the whole island. So this is like getting something like 30 to 40 percent of power from renewable sources, in this case solar energy, is quite an achievement for the CUC and it's quite a welcome development."

Mark Rabago says a few years ago, the CUC suffered from rolling blackouts amid the high cost of oil.