At a critical juncture, the island has an opportunity for more affordable, more reliable energy
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) this week unveiled a vision to collaborate with communities, technical experts, businesses and investors to build low-carbon microgrids in Puerto Rico, and bring reliable, clean and affordable electricity to rural areas of the island. As described at the “BlackStart 2019: Future of Energy Summit” in San Juan, the new initiative will help modernize Puerto Rico’s electric grid and improve the system’s resilience.
“Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s electricity system can help protect the island from future storms, improve the lives of its residents and strengthen its economy — but it must be done with respect,” said Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund. “We will listen to the people of Puerto Rico and bring communities and partners together in a transformational effort to give the island the clean energy future it deserves. By building low-carbon microgrids in rural places that were hardest hit by Hurricane Maria, we can keep the lights on when the next storms strike.”
As the frequency and severity of storms become more common, Puerto Rico needs a new approach to electricity – one that can provide dependable power while reducing pollution to address climate change. Low-carbon microgrids can play an important role in the island’s energy future. These systems can fuel up on solar power, store it in batteries and deliver affordable, clean and reliable energy where people need it most. They can connect to the larger grid and also disconnect during blackouts to keep electricity flowing to hospitals, traffic lights, schools and other critical services.
Krupp expressed a sense of urgency to find a lasting solution to Puerto Rico’s energy crisis. He outlined the organization’s all-inclusive approach to making these solutions both sustainable and scalable by combining technology and energy reform with public grants, philanthropic funds and impact-focused private capital.
BlackStart 2019, which was organized by the Center for a New Economy, is the first in a series of multi- annual events designed to provide the platform necessary for thinking, imagining and planning to fulfill a vision for Puerto Rico’s energy future.