Here's a Glimpse at How Puerto Rico Plans to Modernize Its Grid
Steel and concrete power poles to resist high winds and barriers to protect substations from storm surges are two fairly obvious upgrades to Puerto Rico's electric grid, which was largely destroyed in September by Hurricane Maria.
Add to that investments in microgrids and distributed generation resources and a clearer picture starts to emerge around modernization plans that could cost on the order of $17 billion and take a decade to complete.
The plan from the island's power agency is expected to be released later this month. An early glimpse at what it probably will contain was offered up to the IEEE Spectrum Energywise blog. One reported focus will be on reducing the island’s reliance on transmission lines that cross mountains on their way from generation resources to load centers.
Puerto Rico’s electric power authority, PREPA, is writing the plan along with the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, ConEd, Edison International, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Smart Electric Power Alliance.
In November, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló asked for $94 billion in federal aid to rebuild the island. Around $17 billion of that would go to the electric power system and modernization efforts that could take a decade to finish.
Caption: Restoration work continues in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which largely destroyed Puerto Rico's electric power grid. Credit: Puerto Rico National Guard