Puerto Rico’s Draft IRP Seeks Unprecedented Amounts of Solar and Battery Storage

Last week when utilities and other energy stakeholders were attending DistribuTECH in New Orleans, LA, a bit farther south, Puerto Rico’s utility PREPA was releasing a draft version of its 2019 integrated resource plan (IRP).

The document lays out the future development and continued recovery of Puerto Rico’s electric grid over the next 20 years and includes more than 2220 MW of solar energy and 1080 MW of energy storage. This would be an unprecedented investment in battery storage. According to BloombergNEF, the entire U.S. grid currently only includes about 1031 MW of storage. Puerto Rico’s plan also includes the phase out of the use of coal and bunker oil to generate electricity on the island.

The plan also includes three additional LNG import facilities.

 “This update to the Integrated Resource Plan is a step forward for Puerto Rico,” said Jeremy Fisher, Senior Strategy and Technical Advisor at Sierra Club.  “This new focus on deploying solar energy on the island is long-overdue, and the planned investments in energy storage technology will make Puerto Rico’s energy system more resilient to disruptions. Getting new solar and storage deployed quickly should also allow PREPA and its customers to move away from high cost imported fossil fuels, reduce toxic emissions, and reduce costs for families and businesses. I hope the utility is able to move forward quickly on cost-effectively implementing these solar and storage plans, and looks to minimize new investments in fossil fuel plants and imports.”

The draft energy plan includes the assumption that PREPA will be privatized. The final version of the IRP is expected to be released later this week.

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