Virgin Islands Lose Oil Refinery: Opportunity for Green Energy?

Hovensa, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ sole oil refinery, was forced to shut down last month due to economic losses, leaving over 2,000 people unemployed. This energy fiasco is devastating the islands’ economy, and showing the vulnerability caused by oil dependency. The once-prominent oil refinery closed February 21, keeping about 100 employees to run the facility as an oil storage terminal. The refinery produced over 90 percent of the petroleum energy for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and accounted for 20 percent of the territory’s GDP. Representatives of Hovensa say losses have totaled over $1.3 billion in the last three years. This, along with decline in demand for refined products, makes it economically unfeasible to keep Hovensa operating.