The U.S. Virgins Islands will be home to 49 MW of waste-to-energy capacity by the end of 2012, the first alternative-energy project for the tourist destination and a solution to its excess waste problems

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Alpine Energy Group just released its plans to develop two waste-to-energy plants on the islands for a cost of $440 million. A 33-MW plant will be built on St. Thomas, serving both that island and St. John. Another 16-MW plant will be built on St. Croix. The plants will dispose of 146,000 tons of solid waste a year, producing steam and electric power.

The plans come at the right time as the territory has faced fines from the EPA for excess solid waste in recent years and is running out of landfill space. Also, it has a five times greater energy consumption per capita than the U.S., and, until now, has depended almost solely on oil-fired generators for their electricity, which has become more expensive with rising fuel costs. It seems that waste-to-energy is the right solution to both of their problems.

Construction is set to begin next May.

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