GUAM – Guam’s infrastructure needs more than $1.3 billion in investments ranging from power lines and generators to sewage treatment facilities and water wells to accommodate the population explosion of the Marines’ transfer from Okinawa, according to Guam infrastructure authorities.

Over the short, medium and long term, expanding, refurbishing and operating the island’s civilian-military water and power systems will spell significant opportunity for businesses that supply and serve the utility industries.

Before the 8,500 Marines and their 9,000 dependants arrive as early as 2016 or 2017, a string of more than 23 miles of new overhead transmission lines will crisscross Guam’s skylines, more than 30 wells will be sunk into Guam’s soil and new treatment plants and substations will dot the island’s surface.

The Japanese government will provide $740 million in funding for the infrastructure upgrades, including $421 million for wastewater, $159 million for water and $160 million for an overhaul of the power system, according to the Joint Guam Program Office. The Department of Defense is seeking finance for the rest of the costs.

The Guam Power Authority, which had a projected budget last year of $386 million and 46,000 customers, says the buildup will require between $300 million and $500 million in investment in new power generation and system upgrades and $107 million in investment to the transmission and distribution system.

The Department of Defense and the GPA are discussing $77 million in transmission and substation projects in the north of the island, including a $21.8 million overhead line from Harmon to Andersen, a $15.6 million seven-mile line running underground from North Finegayan to Potts Junction and on to Andersen, a $9.8 million underground line from Harmon to North Finegayan, and seven other related projects.

Transmission and substation upgrades in the south include a four-mile overhead line from Piti to Orote at $8.5 million, a $4.8 million investment in an Orote transformer and substation, and three smaller projects.

The buildup will also require a new NCTAMS substation at a cost of $4.7 million and upgrades totaling almost $17 million to the Dededo, Tumon, Agana, Piti and Apra substations.

The GPA also has a $16 million matching grant for Smart Grid projects to better allow the grid to use renewable energy, improve system reliability, and reduce environmental impacts. Renewable energy investments themselves will reach about $140 million, GPA says. The Department of Defense aims to generate a quarter of its power use through renewable sources.

The GPA also says that, starting next year, combustion turbines have to be refurbished at a cost of $30 million.

The Guam Waterworks Authority, with 300 employees and an annual budget of $60 million, says the buildup will require $160 million in investment in the water infrastructure and spending of $596 million on the wastewater system.

For starters, technical studies for the changes will cost $9 million. The water system needs $46 million for raw water transmission and 16 new water wells built on GPA and civilian land – beyond the 22 wells needed on military land – for $17 million. Improvements to the northern and southern distribution systems will cost $19 million each while upgrades to the central system will cost $6 million, the GWA said. And replacement and other upgrades of the distribution lines themselves will cost $44 million.

The much more extensive needs of the wastewater system include a $249 million expense for the Northern Wastewater treatment plant, $180 million for the Hagatna treatment plant and $70 million for the plant in Agat. Central collection system upgrades will cost $62 million while an overhaul of the northern system will run up another $26 million.


This is the 2nd installment in a series of stories from about the expansion of utilities and infrastructure underway to support unprecedented growth in the island’s civilian-military population. Particular focus will be trained on clarifying utility and infrastructural needs, emerging solutions and the opportunities that could result for Guam businesses.


The image used in this article is courtesy of Suat Eman /