To help in the transition process of Puerto Rico to renewable energy, the U.S. government conducted a study that concluded there simply isn’t enough land available for large-scale solar farms and wind turbine installation.
Puerto Rico is embracing innovation and paving the way to greener energy use by leading a groundbreaking two-year study conducted with the help of the U.S. government. This ambitious initiative looks into optimizing wind and solar resources, evaluating land availability for renewable energy sources, analyzing electricity consumption data, and optimizing transmission systems. This comes after the U.S. pledged to help Puerto Rico strengthen their power grid and achieve their goal of reaching 40% renewable energy by 2025 and 60% by 2040.
The project was discussed during a webinar held by U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who emphasized the importance of cutting through bureaucratic red tape to get federal funding moving for the initiative. Over 600 industry experts attended the webinar to share their wisdom about this revolutionary project, including solar companies determined to secure a foothold in Puerto Rico’s projects. Many residents live under the poverty line in this region and are increasingly anxious about affording these technologies.
The current power generation system in Puerto Rico relies heavily on fossil fuels for 97% of its electricity needs. It has suffered from chronic blackouts due to decades of neglect and lack of maintenance – not to mention powerful hurricanes such as Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Hurricane Fiona last year, which caused island-wide outages. While $1 billion was approved by Congress in December to help restore Puerto Rico’s grid, that amount falls short compared to what President Joe Biden requested ($3 billion) or what lawmakers asked for ($5 billion) to fund solar rooftop panels and storage installations.
At present, scientists are studying whether marine, hydropower, and pumped storage hydropower can be viable renewable energy sources – while also assessing climate risk factors such as temperature increase (up to 2 degrees Celsius) or decreased rainfall (20%) by 2055. A final report will be produced for public consumption before 2023 ends.
Renewable energy initiatives have already been established for businesses transitioning away from fossil fuels – but many communities still don’t have access to financial assistance that would make it possible for them to benefit from this as well. And so, along with accelerating progress on this project, Secretary Granholm also noted there is still much work that needs doing when it comes to providing support for less privileged citizens who wish to take part in this initiative but don’t currently have the means available. She is expected to visit Puerto Rico later this month as part of her efforts toward completing this historic mission.
Jonas Muthoni is an entrepreneur and renewable energy expert. He is the founder of MicroGridMedia.com, a website dedicated to bringing the latest news and information about solar energy and other renewable energy sources to the public. Jonas is passionate about promoting sustainable energy solutions and educating the public about the benefits of renewable energy. He is a regular speaker at industry events and conferences and is committed to driving the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.