SAN JUAN ( Associated Press) – Solar panels should be installed at airports, vacant lots and industrial areas because there is not enough land available for large-scale installation of wind turbines, to help Puerto Rico grow in a cleaner direction. states an early US government study designed to energy.
The two-year study launched last year followed a US government promise to modernize Puerto Rico’s battered power grid by examining the island’s resources for solar or wind power, land availability and electricity consumption.
“This is extremely important,” US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a webinar on Monday to discuss the preliminary results of the study. “We have to try to cut out red tape and get the federal money needed.”
Under constant threat from hurricanes, Puerto Rico has suffered frequent blackouts thanks to the poor state of the electrical network.
The island’s current energy system is 97% based on hydrocarbons, which has raised questions about how the US sector will meet its goal of extracting 40% of its energy from renewable resources by 2025 and 60% by 2040, as promised by government officials.
More than 600 people attended the webinar, including solar companies eager to invest in future projects and skeptical Puerto Ricans who questioned the prospect of installing solar panels on an island where more than 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. stays below
A participant named Wanda Trinidad wrote in the chat, “These systems are very expensive and hardly anyone can afford them because they have spent years with an impossible loan to pay.”
Another, Wanda Rios, lamented that although the government has helped some businesses switch to renewable energy, they haven’t received answers on how communities can get financial support.
“We want a solar community, but we don’t have a program available,” he wrote.
An Energy Department official announced that the $1 billion approved by Congress in December to repair Puerto Rico’s power grid is not enough. President Joe Biden requested $3 billion, and federal lawmakers requested $5 billion for rooftop solar panels and storage facilities.
The study also found that Puerto Rico’s transmission system can accommodate the projected growth of renewable energy sources for the next five to 15 years, but will require further modernization over the long term.
The study also simulated storms and found that smaller, island-wide renewable resources recover faster than the current system of some more large power plants. Hurricane Maria knocked out Puerto Rico’s power grid in September 2017, and Hurricane Fiona exacerbated the damage last September. Both storms caused power outages across the island.
“The urgency has only grown since Hurricane Fiona … wreaked so much havoc,” said Granholm, who plans to travel to Puerto Rico this month.
The final study, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be published by the end of the year.