It turns into clearer how Puerto Rico can obtain its purpose of acquiring 100% of its electrical energy from renewable vitality sources by 2050.
In the course of a two-year examine by the federal authorities, known as PR100, researchers concluded that the island has way more renewable vitality potential than it wants. The report was launched on Monday. The researchers discovered that there’s a choice amongst many residents for “distributed vitality,” which is produced near the place it’s used. Rooftop photo voltaic panels are the most typical instance of that.
“We have now confirmed that these methods are immune to hurricane winds, they usually can present excessive vitality, inside hours after the storm,” mentioned Agustín Carbó, Director of the Puerto Rico Grid Modernization and Restoration Staff in Division of Power. Based on him, the present system of smaller, centralized and huge energy vegetation will take longer to revive electrical energy to the complete island, particularly in distant and mountainous areas.
Final yr the DOE’s Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory, with funding from the Federal Emergency Administration Company, started learning choices to transition the island to 100% renewable vitality by the yr 2050. The purpose is to construct an electrical energy system. stronger towards future storms, which local weather change analysis exhibits can be larger and extra highly effective.
The plan is to change from imported fossil fuels – petroleum, pure gasoline and coal – to cleaner sources resembling photo voltaic and wind. One other purpose is to make electrical energy cheaper. The island’s electrical energy charges are about twice as excessive as common charges throughout the US The federal examine is anticipated to be accomplished by the top of this yr.
4 completely different situations had been modeled to fulfill Puerto Rico’s targets – all together with extra rooftop photo voltaic mixed with battery storage. First is the give attention to the set up of distributed vitality in buildings the place the homeowners can then get the monetary advantages of producing electrical energy. The second focuses on important companies, resembling hospitals, fireplace stations and grocery shops. The third contains prioritizing deployment in distant and low- to moderate-income households to distribute advantages equitably. The final possibility is to put in photo voltaic panels on as many different roofs as attainable.
Even earlier than all of the photo voltaic panels are put in, the examine’s authors say the island wants extra electrical energy technology.
“Vital extra technology capability is clearly wanted instantly to enhance reliability, which is a matter that everybody in Puerto Rico is battling after Hurricanes Maria and Fiona,” mentioned Carbó, who beforehand headed Puerto Rico Power Fee. He says fossil fuels are nonetheless wanted within the brief time period because the island works to achieve its 100% renewable purpose.
The Division of Power and FEMA gathered enter for the examine with an advisory panel of practically 100 individuals and 50 public, non-public and nonprofit organizations.
“For too lengthy, Puerto Ricans have lived in an antiquated and costly electrical energy system the place pointless boundaries and lengthy delays have prevented important enhancements,” mentioned the Secretary of Power. Jennifer Granholm in a written assertion accompanying a progress report on the examine.
Puerto Rico’s grid collapsed in 2017 after Hurricane Maria hit the island, killing at the very least 3,000 residents. Months later crews struggled to revive manufacturing capability and rebuild transmission traces. After years of discontent over mismanagement and corruption within the US territory’s public energy firm, the Puerto Rico Electrical Energy Authority, was privatized.
In September, Hurricane Fiona introduced greater than 30 inches of rain in some areas and knocked out energy on the island once more. There’s widespread discontent with the non-public firm, LUMA, which the federal government awarded a $1.5 billion contract to function the grid.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To seek out out extra, go to https://www.npr.org.