GPA at CIS2024: Guam still on track for 100% renewable energy by 2045

Typhoon Mawar may have temporarily affected parts of the island’s power infrastructure last year, but Guam Power Authority leadership said the agency has recovered and is still on track to achieve total renewable capacity by 2045.


For the second consecutive year, GPA leaders have chosen the Guam Clean Energy Transition Symposium, held at the 15th University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability, as the platform to report its renewable energy progress. This year’s symposium took place on Monday, April 18, at the Hyatt Regency Guam. 


Guided by the provisions of Public Law 35-46, Guam has set ambitious targets for renewable energy. The aim is to achieve 50 percent by 2035 and 100 percent by 2045. This commitment is a crucial step towards reducing the island’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and encouraging the use of clean and renewable energy sources.


According to GPA, the island will achieve 50 percent renewable capacity by 2030. GPA General Manager John Benavente is also optimistic about achieving this target even before that date.


Benavente, in his presentation on “The Journey to Affordable, Reliable, Resilient Energy on a Sustained Basis” at the symposium, also emphasized the importance of partnerships across different sectors to make this happen.


Addressing the pre-conference participants, which included educators, scientists, professional engineers, and renewable energy companies, Benavente said, “Looking around, I am encouraged that we as an island can make it happen.”


According to Benavente, the islandwide power system did not experience a total blackout during Typhoon Mawar despite the 150 mph winds. Benavente said GPA’s investment in electric grid infrastructure, including concrete and steel hardening projects, contributed to early restoration efforts.


“Recoveries from similar typhoons (such as Pongsona) have historically taken months,” he said.


Meanwhile, despite this temporary challenge, he reported progress in expanding GPA’s renewable resources. He focused on projects necessary to drive Guam’s clean energy transition, including investments in energy storage systems to add reliability to the grid.


At the symposium, Joey Duenas, chairperson of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, emphasized the importance of becoming carbon neutral, carbon negative, and water positive. Citing the example of the Cabras power plant that currently uses seawater for cooling, Duenas said GPA is exploring using effluent water from wastewater treatment plants for this purpose. 


Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, in her message, stressed the importance of achieving its renewable energy goal: “Why do we do this? We do this because we want to preserve our environment. We want to protect our land, our waters, and our air. And we want to have a livable, clean environment not just for our generation but for our children and our children’s children,” she said.


From April 8 to 13, the UOG Sustainability Conference will feature presentations and sessions focusing on “Sustainability Endures.” Key topics at the conference include climate change adaptation, renewable energy solutions, waste management strategies, and community resilience.


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