Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico and being months without electricity, Puerto Rico has worked vigorously to move on from the disaster. As part of the rebuilding, Puerto Rico is striving to improve and strengthen their grid. Puerto Rico’s Senate has recently passed a bill to mandate that the islands electric system move towards 100% renewable energy by 2050. Before the bill is signed by Governor Rosselló, it is being sent to the House for reconciliation.
Throughout the creation of the bill, there was an open process that included several public hearings. Javier Rua-Jovet, Sunrun’s director of public policy in Puerto Rico, explains that there was a strong consensus to move forward with this bill following Hurricane Maria.
Once the bill is signed, changes will be implemented to the island’s utility grid. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has already prepared by issuing a draft plan to change the island’s main grid into smaller “mini-grids”, which will be largely powered by solar and storage. There will be eight “mini-grids” scattered throughout the island, and to operate they will require solar energy and solar storage projects.
Why the Change?
Puerto Rico has been devastated by a number of devastating storms. Hurricanes Irma and María forced PREPA to reconsider how it should operate in preparation for future events. Following a storm, these “mini-grids” are designed to operate in grid-isolated mode. This will help to protect the health and safety of people through the next hurricane.
The Move Towards 100% Renewable Goes Nationwide
Although this is just the beginning for Puerto Rico, governors from several U.S. states have also expressed their plans to move towards 100% renewable energy in the future. New Mexico has passed a bill mandating 100% zero-carbon electricity, and the bill is waiting to be signed by the governor. Puerto Rico and New Mexico are just two out of five states including Hawaii, California and Washington D.C., that have mandated a move towards 100% zero-carbon electricity and/or renewable energy by 2050.
Sunnova, the largest non-utility electricity supplier in Puerto Rico, supports this move towards 100% renewable energy. “Sunnova is thrilled that Puerto Rico is joining Hawaii, California, Washington D.C. and New Mexico in their commitment to 100% renewable energy,” stated Meghan Nutting, the executive VP of policy and communications for Sunnova. “Given the abundance of sun on the island, we believe that solar will be able to play a significant role in meeting the 100% goal.”
This mandate in Puerto Rico is a strive towards a renewable energy future. The renewable energy experts at Intersect Energy, are committed to finding and implementing new solutions to reduce our environmental impact and move towards a renewable energy future. Don’t forget to stay up to date with all the latest news in the renewable energy industry by following us on LinkedIn.