DOE, FEMA Launch Puerto Rico Renewable Energy Study Progress Report

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FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have launched a one-year progress report for the Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transition to 100% Renewable (PR100) Study.

PR100, which launched in February 2022 with funding from FEMA, is a two-year examine designed to assist inform infrastructure investments that can present Puerto Rico with clear, dependable and inexpensive power. The examine goals to generate community-driven pathways to satisfy Puerto Rico’s goal of 100% renewable electrical energy by 2050 and enhancing the resilience of the power system in opposition to future excessive climate occasions.

“DOE is supporting Puerto Rico in executing grid improvements that will deliver a better energy system that boosts reliability and savings for its residents,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “For far too long, Puerto Ricans have lived with an outdated and expensive electric system where needless obstacles and long delays have prevented critical improvements. We know that access to renewable energy can help save lives and I am proud of the DOE and FEMA teams that are working tirelessly to help put Puerto Rico on a path to a more resilient and reliable energy future.”

Since its launch, the PR100 workforce outlined 4 potential eventualities via which Puerto Rico can meet its renewable energy targets. The workforce developed the eventualities following intensive engagement with numerous stakeholders, who expressed curiosity in finding out completely different ranges and functions of distributed energy useful resource deployment, comparable to rooftop solar and batteries. In the final six months, the mission workforce carried out preliminary modeling and evaluation of the feasibility and tradeoffs of every state of affairs.

“FEMA’s investment in the PR100 study reiterates our shared commitment to building resilient infrastructure and creating clean energy solutions for Puerto Ricans that will have long-lasting benefits to communities and generations to come,” feedback FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to the partnership the Department of Energy has with FEMA, we were able to evaluate and help fund the development of clean energy alternatives for the reconstruction of the power grid to help Puerto Rico meet its renewable energy targets. This study is one of several strategies that FEMA is collaborating with Puerto Rico on to support the recovery of the energy grid through equitable, sustainable and resilient solutions.”

Preliminary findings of the primary yr of examine analysis and stakeholder enter reveals renewable energy potential in Puerto Rico considerably exceeds complete energy demand now and thru 2050. In addition, distributed energy assets and different system configurations (e.g., neighborhood solar, agrovoltaics) might guarantee Puerto Rico meets its renewable energy targets whereas preserving agricultural land and guarded areas. Significant extra technology capability is required instantly to enhance reliability.

Smaller renewable assets unfold throughout the power system might recuperate sooner from disruptive occasions than the present system, which consists of fewer and bigger power crops. Prioritizing stakeholder enter and interagency coordination is essential to beat previous challenges.

As dozens of recent energy restoration tasks transfer in direction of development, the PR100 examine helps DOE leverage the world-class experience and superior modeling capabilities of its National Labs to make sure that funded energy restoration actions align with Puerto Rico energy coverage and resilience wants, are coordinated throughout sectors, and align with business greatest practices. Led by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the examine connects native decisionmakers and communities with instruments, coaching, and analytical assist to allow planning and operation of the Commonwealth’s power grid with better resilience in opposition to disruption because it strikes towards its 100% renewable energy purpose.

The two-year PR100 Study depends on intensive enter to make sure that the mission workforce is offering efficient and related technical help. DOE has convened an advisory group of practically 100 people from 60 organizations representing the general public, non-public, and nonprofit sectors. In this fashion, PR100 will mirror and reply to a breadth of stakeholder views and priorities and can assist progress towards energy justice for all Puerto Ricans.

In October 2022, following devastating Hurricane Fiona, President Biden introduced the Puerto Rico Grid Recovery and Modernization Team, led by Agustín Carbó, the previous Chairman of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission (now the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau), to work throughout the federal and native governments to determine and overcome impediments to fast infrastructure deployment. These efforts are an outgrowth of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in February 2022 by DOE, the Departments of Homeland Security, FEMA, HUD, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reinforce collaboration between the companies. 

Beginning in 2023, Secretary Granholm will take part in a street tour of Puerto Rico to pay attention and be taught in regards to the points impacting the island’s grid resilience and restoration from communities via private engagements, townhalls, and listening periods. During the occasions, DOE will search to determine methods to handle current short-term hurdles that can assist allow precedence and pressing tasks to interrupt floor forward of the following hurricane season.

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