Cities Team Up to Clean Up
- Apr 13, 2018 3:30 am GMT
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The cities of San Juan and Pittsburgh are teaming up to rebuild and reassess their energy infrastructures. Both mayors hope to move away from fossil fuels and instead generate power from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. A sister-city relationship could help with the current challenges they both face. The localization of clean power production, energy storage and restrictive new federal laws. Both cities need new energy systems, like permanently installed microgrids, to locally produce and distribute electricity.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is looking for ways to break free from traditional power grids and use smart energy technology to resolve power generation issues. San Juan, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is hoping Pittsburgh and its academic institutions can bring technology and information to Puerto Rico so the island can take full advantage of solar and wind energy consumption methods. There are 328 days of sunshine a year in Puerto Rico, making the island perfect for solar energy. Past production should justify repair costs to damaged solar farms. Power outages, irregular and intermittent electricity should motivate continued utility restoration efforts. However, the Army Corps of Engineers is reducing the number of utility repair workers in Puerto Rico. Concerned about the 50,000 still without power, senators have called for an investigation of power restoration work in the area.
Eugene Shlatz, a director in Navigant’s global energy practice supports plans to restore and rebuild, telling lawmakers, “the magnitude of devastation, while unprecedented, now provides an opportunity to rebuild and transform the system to one that is hardened, smarter, more efficient, cleaner and less dependent on fossil fuel imports.”
Officials admit the grid they have restored is not the more resilient grid needed. On May 18th, the Corps mission will expire and duties will be turned over to the local utility to manage. Teaming up with Pittsburgh may be a small step toward clean power and restoration but it's a step in the right direction.