“That is extraordinarily vital,” mentioned Jennifer Granholm, US Power Secretary, throughout a webinar Monday to speak concerning the preliminary outcomes of the examine. “We got down to lower paperwork and switch federal funding.”
Amid the specter of highly effective hurricanes, Puerto Rico has suffered frequent energy outages blamed on a crumbling energy grid after many years of neglect and lack of upkeep. The island’s present electrical energy era system is 97% fossil gasoline primarily based.
Greater than 600 individuals joined the webinar, together with photo voltaic firms desirous to get a stake in future tasks and dissatisfied Puerto Ricans who query the truth of implementing photo voltaic panels on an island the place greater than 40% of the inhabitants lives beneath the poverty line.
“These methods are very costly, and actually nearly nobody can afford them as a result of it’s a debt that will likely be unattainable to pay for a few years,” wrote a participant named Wanda Trinidad within the chat.
One other, Wanda Ríos, says that whereas the federal government helps some companies swap to renewable vitality, she hasn’t gotten a solution on how communities can get monetary assist.
“We wish to have a photo voltaic neighborhood, however there may be (no) program accessible for us!” he wrote.
A high US Division of Power official mentioned the $1 billion accredited by the US Congress in December to assist restore Puerto Rico’s grid isn’t sufficient. US President Joe Biden is asking for $3 billion, and federal lawmakers are asking for $5 billion for photo voltaic rooftop panels and storage installations.
The continuing examine additionally discovered that Puerto Rico’s transmission system can accommodate anticipated progress in renewables over the subsequent 5 to fifteen years, however that upgrades are wanted in the long run.
As well as, the examine simulated hurricanes and located that small renewable sources unfold out are more likely to get better sooner than the present system of small and huge energy crops. Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s energy grid in September 2017 when it hit the island as a Class 4 storm and Hurricane Fiona battered it when it hit in September final yr as a Class 1 storm. Each storms brought on island-wide blackouts.
“The urgency solely elevated after Hurricane Fiona…brought on a lot harm,” mentioned Granholm, who is anticipated to go to Puerto Rico this month.
This yr, scientists count on to review the potential of utilizing marine, hydropower and pumped storage hydropower as a further supply of renewable vitality, amongst different issues. Scientists additionally say that preliminary local weather danger assessments present a temperature improve of as much as 2 levels Celsius and a 20% lower in precipitation by 2055.
The ultimate examine, funded by the Federal Emergency Administration Company, will likely be printed by the tip of the yr.