Puerto Rico Aims for 100% Renewable Power

Legislation recently introduced into the Puerto Rico Senate calls for the territory to rely only on renewable energy by 2050.

In addition to being a more self-sufficient and environmentally friendly energy option, relying on renewable energy would end the monopoly of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa). The proposed legislation would create a system for bidding power companies to adhere to the island’s energy policies and develop energy-saving requirements for government agencies.

The weakness of Puerto Rico’s energy grid was exposed in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Seven months after the hurricane, about half the island’s population was still without power. The bankrupt Prepa was ill prepared to repair the damage from the hurricanes.

The senate’s legislation seeks to create a Puerto Rico energy system that’s robust, resilient, affordable and reliable. The bill to transform the electrical system would include modernization and updating of the transmission system. But one of the key components of the legislation is the reliance on renewable energy.

With stair-step goals to implementing renewable energy, the bill calls for 20 percent of the island’s energy to come from renewables by 2025; 50 percent by 2040; and 100 percent by 2050.

The legislation was developed through a collaborative effort of more than 41 Puerto Rican organizations. Proposals within the bill include strengthening energy regulations for the island, creating energy co-ops, and the development of prosumers, which combines the roles of energy producer and consumers. As other environmentally friendly measures, the bill would eliminate use of coal by 2027 and require 10 percent of payments within Prepa’s transactions to go toward the island’s Green Energy Fund to finance renewables.

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